RTT CASE STUDY # 13: HOME DEPOT’S 6.64-YEAR OLD CARBON-OFFSET & PRODUCTION FOREST IN COSTA RICA, March 25, 2009
In 2002 The Home Depot Foundation in Atlanta, GA sponsored a demonstration forest in Costa Rica to explore the possibilities of balancing US greenhouse gas emissions while producing wood on farms in the tropics. This was done in cooperation with Reforest The Tropics, a CT-based, non-profit organization. RTT manages a UNFCCC-AIJ program to develop and demonstrate an advanced model of tropical farm forests for those purposes.
RTT works with a limited number of farms in Costa Rica in 33 joint venture forests 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 and a contribution towards the costs of establishment and management of this pilot project.
This graph shows the total (upper lines) and current annual (last 12 months, lower lines) sequestration in tonnes of CO2 and m3 of wood production. The current annual sequestration was 29.4 tonnes of CO2, down from the past year. The total amount of CO2 stored in the forest in the past 6.64 years is 170.9 tonnes of CO2. The current and total production in cubic meters of wood is 33 & 188 m3, respectively. The average annual sequestration and production since planted are 25.7 tonnes and 28.3 m3, respectively.
Long-term management and profitability for the farmer are the keys to sustainability and long-term carbon storage in farm forests. This project is managed by RTT under a 25-year agreement between RTT and the farm owners. The forest belongs to the farmer while the rights to the CO2 sequestered belong to Home Depot, the forest sponsor, during the agreement.
The goal of the specialized management plan is a sustainable forest that produces a significant cash flow for the farmer 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, biological stability, fast-growth for early farmer income, wood value and reliability of long-term carbon sequestration. The Rojas family farm hosts 19 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 from new tropical forests could be established as a viable farm product.
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 eventually both store CO2, produce wood to be converted to bio-fuels and feed local populations. Additionally, newer RTT forest models are being designed to sequester even more CO2/$ invested and to be wildlife friendly.
- CO2 sequestration graph
- The sign reads “A Forest to Sequester Atmospheric Carbon”
RTT CASE STUDY #10: DR. WOLF’S 6.64-YEAR OLD CARBON-OFFSET FOREST IN COSTA RICA, August 17, 2009
In 2002 Dr. Eric Wolf, dermatologist in Groton, CT, sponsored a research carbon-offset forest in Costa Rica to balance the greenhouse gas emissions from his office operations. Reforest The Tropics, a CT-based non-profit organization, offers this opportunity.
An inventory of the operation of Dr. Wolf’s office and vehicle showed annual emissions of 22.6 metric tonnes (MT) of CO2 in 2008. The sources are emissions from the generation and use of electricity in Connecticut, 11.1 tonnes, and emissions from commuting to and from work (9 persons) of 11.5 tonnes.
To balance these emissions, 2 ½ acre forest was established on July, 2002 on a pasture in the Las Delicias Farm in cooperation with the owners, the Rojas Family. A donation to RTT from Dr. Wolf provided a grant to the farm to cover some of the costs of establishment and the management of this long-term research project by RTT.
This graph shows the amount of current annual sequestration and total CO2 storage in this forest through the first 6.64 years. The current sequestration, the amount sequestered in the last 12 months in the forest, was 52.1 tonnes of CO2. The total amount stored in the forest in the past 6.64 years is 183 tonnes of CO2, balancing the emissions of Dr. Wolf’s office operations since the project began. The average capture per year is 27.6 tonnes compared to 22 tonnes of emissions.
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 an initial 25-year contract between RTT and the farm owners. The forest belongs to the farm while the rights to the CO2 sequestered belong to Dr. Wolf through the RTT agreement with the farmer.
The goal of the specialized management plan is to produce significant income for the farm even while sequestering CO2 indefinitely in the forest stand for the US sponsor. The income is expected to come from the sale of frequent and light thinnings to keep the forest healthy and growing well. This forest has not yet been thinned. The forest is designed using a mixture of tree species selected for biodiversity, biological stability, for fast-growth for early farmer income and for longevity for long-term carbon sequestration. The Rojas family farm hosts 20 projects, each with a different design for creating sustainable forests for long-term income and CO2storage.
In the RTT model, after the first 25-year contract, the farmer may be able to continue selling additional verified offsets to the same sponsor or sell them on the world market. By then, we trust that carbon offsets will be established as a new, valuable product from tropical farms.
This is a UNFCCC-AIJ applied research program to develop and demonstrate an advanced carbon capture and storage forest model and its management for the tropics. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call Dr. Herster Barres at 860-572-8199. Our web site is reforestthetropics.org.
RTT CASE STUDY # 9: PRECOMMERCIAL THINNING OF THE MOHEGAN-OFFSET FOREST AT 6.8 YEARS OF AGE.
This forest was planted in August of 2002 to offset the CO2 emissions of the Mohegan Casino in Uncasville, CT. The forest contains 4 tree species, Deglupta, Chancho, Klinkii and Mahogany. This was a pre-commercial thinning, taking out the badly formed trees to favor the better formed. You can see that the two felled trees in this photo were forked at a certain height. They had little or no potential commercial value while the others left behind, did. Those left behind can now grow faster with less competition.
The reason these felled trees are forked was wind damage to the tips when they were younger. This site used to be a pasture. All of the carbon in the stand, including in the roots, is additional. This forest had stored 200 tonnes of CO2/ha when it was 6.5 years old. Farmers will eventually be paid to store carbon (REDD) in forest stands, so information like this is important..
Notice the small Klinkii trees in the lower level of the forest. These shade-tolerant trees will now start to grow faster with the additional light. The role of this tree in the mixture of species is to grow to very large sizes for long-term CO2 storage, part of this RTT design.
We expect to thin this fast-growing forest commercially starting at age 8-10, and again thereafter every 3-5 years. The thinned logs will be sold by the farmer for income, each time leaving the best trees behind in the live forest stand to grow larger. If space appears below the stand, as we expect, other shade-tolerant trees will be underplanted. Their slower growth in that partial shade may produce finer and more valuable hardwood.
These forests were sponsored by US emitters as part of their GHG management plans. This forest was sponsored by the Mohegan Casino in Uncasville, CT. The forests serve as training sites for farmers, students and foresters showing them how to manage farm forests for income and for efficient CO2 capture and storage.
Seated on the log is Rolando Camacho, RTT forester. The farm, Hacienda Las Delicias, is owned by the Rojas Family. Over thirty designs of mixed-species forests are being tested by RTT for efficient carbon capture, long-term storage and for farmer income for sustainability. This is a UNFCCC-AIJ program to develop, demonstrate and apply improved models of carbon-offset forests to manage US CO2 emissions. Photo: June 23, 2009 in Costa Rica.
Ann & Anis Racy sponsored this 2 ½-acre forest to balance their family’s greenhouse gas emissions and to further research into forests on farms in the tropics.
One of the options recently approved at the Climate Change Meeting in Copenhagen was the use of forests for capturing and storing CO2. Reforest the Tropics manages a privately funded UN Program to improve, demonstrate and apply farm forests for this purpose.
Forests designed by RTT are unique and advantageous in several ways.
First, they use intimate mixtures of different tree species to achieve biological stability as the climate changes. You can see some of the species in the photo above. In the Racy forest we used 5 species: Chancho, Klinkii, Pilon, Cedar and the fast-growing Rainbow tree.
Second, each of these tree species grow at a different rate. The rainbow tree is capable of producing a commercial size log by the age of 6-8 years. The Chancho tree does the same in 8-12 years. Pilon takes 15-18 years. This allows RTT to manage the forest commercially, thinning it frequently for farmer income while leaving an ever increasing amount of carbon captured in the live forest stand for the account of the Racy family.
Third, thinnings allow RTT to manage the forest sustainably. Long-term carbon storage in the forest is only possible in a sustainable forest, one that never has to be clear cut. Farmers in the RTT Model allow RTT to reforest their pastures, but they do this in the understanding that the forest will be profitable for them. This profitability comes from the forest producing logs from thinnings that the farmer can sell. The RTT Management model involves frequent thinnings of the fast-growing forest to improve the forest stand.
The goal of the RTT Program is to create and manage these new forests for efficient, long-term CO2 capture and storage to mitigate climate change and to fit the financial needs of farmers to enhance sustainability. For more information: reforestthetropics.org or call Dr. Barres, Director at 860-912-7706.
A CARBON-BALANCED MOTORCYCLE AT THE UNADILLA GNCC WOODS RACE!
The motorcycle above will be carbon-balanced through reforestation in the tropics through a donation of $250. The Trees are planted on old cattle pastures to capture the CO2 emitted from the fuel usage. The farmer, through thinning the forest may earn more money with the sale of wood than by cattle farming the land.
By sponsoring a sustainable forest of fast-growing trees in Costa Rica, Scott, the owner, has taken a positive action in which those specific trees will absorb an equal amount of CO2 as the motorcycle emits.
Do your part for combating climate change in a United Nations Carbon Capture and Storage project in Sustainable Farm Forests.
For more information, contact email@example.com or call Reforest The Tropics at 860-514-1947.
Walking in the forest allows students to see more than just the trees.
- The SEMI program at New London Public Schools forest is changing as the trees grow
SPONSOR A CARBON-OFFSET FOREST FOR YOUR SCHOOL
A pasture to a forest in less than 6 ½ years A research forest in Costa Rica
The Carbon-Offset Forests for the Superior Nut Company of Cambridge, Mass.
The Superior Nut Company is an environmentally progressive company based in Cambridge, Mass., USA. Reforest the Tropics partnered with Superior Nut in 1998 to perform a voluntary CO2-emission inventory of Superior Nut’s operations. The information from this inventory was used to plan Superior Nut’s first carbon-offset forest in Costa Rica.
Since that time, Superior Nut has sponsored a total of five tropical carbon-offset forests to balance their global warming emissions. Each acre of their forests will balance 10 metric tons of CO2 every year for 25 years under contract with the farm.
While Superior will benefit from sequestration and long-term storage, the owner of the farms in Costa Rica will benefit from income every 5 years from selling periodic thinnings programmed in the management plan. After the 25-contract is finished, the farmer will be able to sell carbon-offset credits on the world market.
Superior Nut Company achieved its goal ahead of time and is carbon balanced. There is a balance between the carbon dioxide emissions of the factory and the forests sequestering carbon.