Reforest The Tropics

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

Case Study # 10

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The sign reads “A Forest to Sequester Atmospheric Carbon”
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 hbarres@aol.com or call Dr. Herster Barres at 860-572-8199.  Our web site is reforestthetropics.org.

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