Our supporters receive a very clear and tangible outcome: credits from a new, biologically and economically sustainable, tropical forest.
One of the first steps for RTT is to set up a sign that identifies the funder and key information about the forest. The carbon that is captured in the new forest is credited to the donor for the duration of the 25-year contract period. This contract can be renewed indefinitely. RTT data indicates that a forest sponsor can expect approximately 20 metric tons of carbon to be sequestered each year, for a total of 500 MT of carbon over 25 years. The sponsor may achieve a higher rate of production in the forest. Carbon can be used for one’s personal goals of environmental stewardship or can be used as a powerful marketing tool for any business.
The forests are subject to weekly monitoring and management and are measured annually. Measurements are audited by an independent forestry consultant, who issues a letter that supports the validity of the program. Ninety hectares (223 acres) of RTT forests have received third party verification under ISO standards to certify the carbon it has captured on the Las Delicias farm near Pocora, Costa Rica. This process revealed that RTT forests are capturing and storing more than 25 metric tonnes CO2e per hectare per year and have helped prove the RTT concept. New RTT forests, however do not automatically include verification or issue carbon credits for trade in international markets. Forest sponsors may elect to pay for third party verification and participate in carbon markets should they desire.
Our model is not simply a “plant a tree” program, rather it is a scientific approach to develop a biologically and economically sustainable ecosystem that can remain as forest perpetually. By making the project financially competitive with alternative land use activities AND by designing the forest to be regenerative, the likelihood that the forest will be standing in 100 years is far more favorable than other reforestation models.
Our Director of Research, Dr. Herster Barres, has dedicated over 50 years to research in tropical forestry. Through these decades of research, Dr. Barres has designed a forestry model which is able to sequester an impressive amount of carbon WHILE ALSO allowing landowners to benefit economically from the sale of timber from necessary forest thinnings. Allowing the landowner to profit encourages him/her to keep the land forested, as opposed to cutting it down for an alternative land-use activity.
Tree species are susceptible to disease and insects. Our model mitigates this risk by using a mixed-species model. Tree species have been wiped out in certain areas throughout the world when a malady finds its niche. Not only does a mixed-species model reduce the hazard of inviting disease through species overcrowding, but it also reduces the risk of catastrophic loss if a disease does manage to take hold of a forest stand. Also, the mixed species model allows for biodiversity and habitat creation for local fauna.
A potential donor may look towards purchasing carbon RECs or engage in emissions reduction efforts to balance their carbon output. At RTT, we applaud any effort to go green, however we also recognize the need to pull carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. There are three methods to extract CO2 from the atmosphere: fertilizing the oceans, a risky method that will exacerbate the problem of an already too acidic ocean; smokestack “scrubbers,” which are estimated to remove and store CO2 for a price of approximately $200 per metric ton (The Economist; Mar. 5, 2009); and reforestation; which under the RTT model is safe, sustainable and far more cost effective.