Reforest The Tropics

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

A New Milestone For Education and Tropical Forests

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Reforest The Tropics’ forests are the most powerful carbon absorbing forest models ever developed. This came as a result of over 50 years of tropical forest research experience and refined unRTT Newsletter, January 2015der the development of a United Nations carbon sequestration program, the only one of its kind known to us in the Americas.

One of the biggest advantages to our program is that it is NOT a typical forestry offset project. Unlike other offset programs, RTT generates NEW CARBON CAPTURES with newly planted forests, not preservation of existing forests and not the sale of carbon that has already been captured. Only with newly planted tropical forests do we have a chance of absorbing pre -existing atmospheric CO2 that will continue to heat up the Earth even if today we stopped emitting all CO2 from all current sources.

These forests not only absorb 10 times more carbon dioxide than the temperate zone forests, but actually 4 times more than the average rainforest itself…even after thinning the forest to provide income for the farmer.

The enhanced productivity of these forest plantations has resulted in a financial model that makes this land use competitive with other land uses. Our models are demonstrating that a farmer can make as much money, or more, planting trees as he can raising cattle on the same land. This can ensure the sustainability of tropical forests. Increasingly, scientists are pointing to replanting our tropical lands as the most important aspect of our survival as a human population.

One the most important developments at Reforest The Tropics recently was a collaboration with the City of Gloucester, MA, to offset the carbon emissions of the entire school system using trees planted in Costa Rican forests. That’s six schools with 3000 students representing 44.2% of the municipality’s CO2 emissions.

The program really gained traction when RTT offered to provide guidance to implement a revolutionary educational initiative to use the school’s forest as a teaching platform for a climate change curriculum in grades K thru 12.

The classroom will be interactively connected to RTT foresters and the supporting community eco-culture in Costa Rica. So in three years, there will be enough trees planted to offset the entire school system’s carbon emissions. An advisory panel to the City came to the conclusion that using the RTT forest model was the most cost effective way to supplement it’s long term carbon neutrality goals. RTT has installed at least 14 pilot programs in southern Connecticut schools in the past 15 years, but the City of Gloucester is the first school system in the United States to bring this dual planting/teaching initiative to scale in a community’s goal to become carbon neutral.

The ultimate objective of the program is to instill emissions ownership responsibility in the children by having the schools teach by example. Psychologists tell us that our children almost certainly will follow our example, rather than us telling them what to do and how to behave.

So we can’t expect our children to be carbon balanced in their lives if we don’t set the example ourselves. That’s why the schools setting a goal to be 100% carbon balanced is so critical to the way our children will look at their own responsibility to address the huge sustainability decisions that will face them when they join the workplace as adults.

This combined rainforest offset/teaching program has the power to be the most influential movement on this planet to create a sea-change in the way our youth will feel and act to benefit global sustainability.

Harry Hintlian,
RTT Board Chair

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