Mountain Hazelnuts Ventures


Mountain Hazelnuts (MHV) was founded in 2009 as Bhutan’s first 100% foreign direct investment with a mission of creating a profitable business that provides long-term income for vulnerable rural communities by planting 10 million hazelnut trees on fallow and degraded mountain slopes. Mountain Hazelnut Ventures works to date with 10,440 small farmers distributed throughout the country of Bhutan. Each of those 10,440 farmers represent an investment site (mean =0.46 ha), as defined in the LDN Fund Impact Monitoring Methodology.

Figure 1: Mountain Hazelnut Ventures works to date in over 10,000 individual investment sites (black dots on the map). The investment area is the aggregate of all those sites. The investment landscape, in this case, has been defined as the area within a 2 km buffer around the investment area. Box on the lower right section of the figure presents a closer look to the distribution of sites and the surrounding landscape in South Eastern Bhutan.


The Mountain Hazelnut Ventures LDN baseline found that:

  • Land productivity: 7.8 % of the investment area is currently identified as degraded compared to 5.9 % within the larger investment landscape
  • Land cover: 72.2 % of the investment area is currently classified as grassland or cropland, while those covers in the larger investment landscape represent only 17.4 %. The investment landscape, on the other hand, is dominated by tree covered areas (81.2 %) compared to only 25.3 % within the investment area.
  • Soil organic carbon: Baseline SOC content within the first 30 cm of the soil was 73.9 tons C/ha in fallow sites, compared to 85.9 tons C/ha in hazelnut orchards with at least 6 years of age.

Figure 2: Baseline map for land productivity (left), land cover (middle), and sampling design for the soil organic carbon baseline (right) of Mountain Hazelnut Ventures investments in Bhutan.


The proposed monitoring plan following the LDN Fund Impact Monitoring Methodology is:

  • Land productivity: Wall to wall annual assessment using remote sensing data
  • Land cover: Wall to wall repeated measures of land cover change every four years relying on land cover maps at 30 m spatial resolution produced by the national government. If those maps were not available within the required frequency, similar maps could be produced in house using freely available imagery. Very high spatial resolution data could be useful for producing land cover maps areas of particular interest to the company or the LDN Fund.
  • Soil organic carbon: Initial and final SOC measurements with in the same representative area used for the baseline and following the same cluster design. Annually, hazelnut production measures can be used to assess changes in productive capacity of the soil and impact of ongoing agricultural practices.


To read the full project monitoring pilot for Mountain Hazelnut Ventures, click the button below:

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