Tropical Reforestation

Tropical

Reforestation

We believe that in order to help solve the climate crisis, a workable forestry model must be adopted on a large scale in much of the tropical world. We are confident that the wide adoption of our forestry model, when combined with global emission reduction programs, can limit the atmospheric concentration of CO2 below the 350 parts per million threshold cited as critical by the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change.

Tropical reforestation is our best hope to pull CO2 from the atmosphere and store it for the long term in trees, soil, and wood products.

This diagram demonstrates the importance of carbon extraction strategies. The planet shares the collective goal and responsibility to reduce atmospheric CO2 levels to approximately 745 Gt CO2 (or 350 parts per million). Currently, the atmosphere contains approximately 855 Gt (or 412 parts per million).
Most climate change strategies are currently focusing on limiting the 10 Gt CO2 that are being emitted each year. Although carbon emissions reduction is very important, this graphic illustrates the relatively small impact these efforts have on the climate equation. Due to the longevity of CO2 in the atmosphere (500-800 years), we will never reach our sustainability goals without technologies that EXTRACT CO2 from the atmosphere.

Supporting Articles & Organizations

The science is unequivocal that carbon must be restored to the biomass and that tropical forests are a fast method for carbon capture.  A recent study titled ‘Restoring forests as a means to many ends‘ was published in Science in July, 2019, and it made a strong case for tropical reforestation.  News coverage of the study was widespread.
An article in Nova highlighted the study’s local connection to a scientist in Connecticut.  “This is a very rigorous and timely approach…that highlights where [forest] restoration can and should be happening,” says Robin Chazdon, a forest ecologist at the University of Connecticut who authored a commentary on the study. But, she adds, while “it’s good and important to know the potential…we have to [do the work to] make the potential the reality.”
Organizations that supports tropical reforestation include Wood’s Hole Oceanographic Institution,  Mongabay,  and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  RTT is an UNFCCC-AIJ (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – Activities Implemented Jointly) Program for the offset of US CO2 emissions in tropical farm forests.
Nature is “one of the most effective ways” of combating climate change and should be part of every country’s climate strategy according to the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Inger Andersen. A September 2019 article in UN News, stated ‘Nature-based solutions are actions that protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems, that also address societal challenges, thereby simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits. So, whether its food security, climate change, water security, human health, disaster risk or economic development, nature can help us find a way.’

The RTT Model

Scientists and policy makers throughout the world have identified forestry as a critical element in the climate change struggle, however no panacea-model has been presented that carries the potential to seriously achieve the necessary level of CO2 extraction in order to avoid a catastrophic 450 parts per million atmospheric load of CO2.  When accounting for prescribed forest thinnings, our new model can achieve the long term sequestration of over 1200 MT of CO2e per hectare.  This model outperforms both natural tropical forests (which average between 200-300 MT/ha CO2e storage) and the model being implemented by the Costa Rican government.
Our model can transform forestry from a long-term, low-return land-use proposition to a medium-term activity that economically outperforms the value of cattle pasture on a per hectare basis. Accordingly, the model will attract tropical landowners to participate in projects while creating a sensible solution to long-term carbon sequestration.
The land that is best suited for reforestation is held by private landowners in the wet tropics, primarily those with medium to large sized ranches. This is because privately held land is most likely to have been cleared of forest for pastures in the past. The owners of these farms must engage in profitable land-use activities, which has made some attempts to convert productive pasture to forest a difficult sell to the farmer. Indeed, Costa Rica, a country that has entered into a landmark agreement with the World Bank to reforest tens of thousands of hectares of cattle pasture, is reporting a lack of interested farmers.
Carbon sequestration projects based on forestry alone simply cannot be sustainable over the long-term if the landholder/farmer does not experience the financial benefits of maintaining land as forest. By designing a forest with a mixture of species that are both productive in terms of CO2 capture and storage, and valuable in terms of timber, our model satisfies the competing needs of profitable land-use and the needs of the global commons. The expected market growth of carbon on a global scale will further enhance the profit potential of reforestation projects.
The association between global warming and CO2 emissions is well established, as are the global socio-economic and ecological risks tied to climate change. It is also clear from countless studies and numerous policy recommendations that forestry must play a role in the climate change mitigation prescription. Not only does forestry represent a cost-effective and efficient manner to mitigate CO2 emissions, forests also serve as carbon sinks that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.