Reforest The Tropics

An applied research program demonstrating climate change mitigation through sustainable farm forestry

Home Depot

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The Home Depot Carbon-Offset Forest in Costa Rica

(Download a recent RTT report on the Home Depot Forest here [PDF]).

In 2002 The Home Depot Foundation in Atlanta, GA sponsored a carbon-offset & production forest in Costa Rica to explore the possibilities of balancing US greenhouse gas emissions and wood production in tropical farm reforestation projects.  The photo below shows a sign in the Home Depot Forest reading “A Forest to Fix Carbon.”

RTT works with a limited number of farms in Costa Rica in 30 joint ventures sponsored by US donors. The Home Depot forest is on the Las Delicias Farm owned by the Rojas Family. Donations to RTT from The HD Foundation provided a grant to the farm, a contribution towards the costs of establishment, and the management of this research project.

The above graph shows the current (last 12 months) and total sequestration in tonnes of CO2 and production of wood in cubic meters (m3). The current annual sequestration was 51 tonnes of CO2. The total amount of CO2 stored in the forest in the past 5.7 years is 143 tonnes of CO2. The current and total production in cubic meters of wood is 56 & 156 m3, respectively. These are very high values, the result of careful design of the mixture of tree species used.

Long-term management and profitability for the farmer are the keys to long-term carbon storage in sustainable forests. This project is managed by RTT under a written 25-year agreement between RTT and the farm owners. The forest belongs to the farm while the rights to the CO2 sequestered belong to the Home Depot Foundation through RTT during the agreement.

The goal of the specialized management plan is a sustainable forest that produces significant income for the farm even while sequestering CO2 efficiently and indefinitely in the forest stand for the US sponsor. The income will come from the sale of frequent and light thinnings to keep the forest healthy and growing well. The forest is designed using a mixture of tree species selected for biodiversity, for biological stability, for fast-growth for early farmer income, for wood value and for longevity of long-term carbon sequestration. The Rojas family farm hosts 18 projects.

After the first 25-year contract, the farmer may continue selling additional verified offsets, either to the same sponsor or on the world market. By then, carbon offsets could be established as a new, valuable product from tropical farms.

Millions of acres of tropical farm pastures are available for carbon storage and wood production. With advances in bio-fuel chemistry, these sustainable forests may both store CO2 and produce wood to be converted to fuel. And newer RTT forest models are being designed to be even more efficient and wildlife friendly.

To participate in this research program by sponsoring a forest to offset your emissions, contact us.

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