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Verna - using geospatial data science to address the climate and nature crises

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by Startacus Admin

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London-based startup Verna aims to help landowners, investors, and policymakers to use land in ways that draw down carbon, enhance biodiversity and generate sustainable returns.

verna earthWe have written about startups like Ecologi, Treekly, and TreeCard - to name just a few - who work to reforest areas damaged by deforestation. These may be decimated mangrove forests in Madagascar, desertified land in Burkina Faso, or forests destroyed for palm oil in Indonesia. But trees need to be planted all over the world, and it’s not always as obvious a choice as replacing what has been taken away. People need a way of locating the right spots with the right conditions.

gustav-gullstrand-d6kSvT2xZQo-unsplashLondon-based startup Verna has built software to help with this. There is, it turns out, a lot more to deciding where to start planting trees than simply looking at some empty land and throwing down a sapling. Land managers have to factor economics, science, and regulation into these decisions.

Verna helps with this complexity in woodland creation, habitat creation and enhancement, and regenerative agriculture by using geospatial data science to identify the solutions to your particular challenge, whether that is simply what the best thing to do with your land is, or how to reach a specific target, like net zero. Their ForestFounder tool will analyse any amount of land you have, and bring back a map that identifies where tree-planting will be feasible, beneficial, and profitable, if that is important. This can help the landowners make informed decisions, and it can help find key locations for reforestation.

In December, Verna announced that they had raised £860,000 in funding in a pre-seed round led by Vanneck EIS, with participation by Octopus Ventures. This comes after an August investment of £1.4 million by the government as part of the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio. This funding will go towards further developing the software, upgrading its capabilities and allowing it to analyse more opportunities, including systems to identify the best carbon and biodiversity options, such as in peatland restoration.



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Published on: 21st December 2022

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