This profile was prepared when Adam Tuller was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2003.
The New Idea
In the last 80 years, 70 percent of Kenya's forests have been cut, with most felled trees now processed to form charcoal, a cooking-fuel staple. Reducing charcoal dependency by introducing other energy sources like gas and kerosene is cost prohibitive for most people. However, as Adam has demonstrated, it is possible to take significant pressure off existing woodlands by planting trees for use as fuel. His solution makes use of technical innovations to accelerate tree production, existing citizen networks to guide adoption of new planting techniques, and commercial forestry to generate enough capital to drive the enterprise on a large scale. Halting deforestation by increasing the fuel supply is Adam's main aim, yet he is simultaneously pursuing goals of environmental conservation and wealth generation. In cooperation with Kenya Wildlife Services, he has begun his work in the Aberdare region of central Kenya, the main water catchment area for 20 million people. He aims to scale up quickly, introducing his plan throughout East Africa in the next five years.