Reforest The Tropics

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

Tag Archives: climate change

The Hotchkiss School Carbon OffsetForest Update

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Hotchkiss School forest site

Hotchkiss School forest site

Captured CO2 in the Hotchkiss School carbon offsett forestTHE HOTCHKISS SCHOOL CARBON-OFFSET FOREST, THE PASTURE WE PLANTED IN JULY, 2007.  In this RTT UNFCCC program, pastures are reforested to capture CO2 for its US sponsors and to earn income for participating farmers.  Each project is a research forest to develop economically sustainable farm forests that meet the needs of emitters and farmers.  This 2½-acre site above was planted in July, 2007 for the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, CT. The site is shown below after reforestation when the forest was 6.49 years old with 106 MT of CO2e already captured. The chart also shows the participation of the different trees species used in the mixture. Because Hotchkiss was the sponsor of this forest, it has the rights to the CO2 captured in the forest for 25 years to balance its school emissions in the U. S.  We estimate that the forest will capture 20 metric tonnes of CO2 annually on the average during the 25-year agreement RTT signs with the farmer on behalf of the US sponsor.   Another goal in this applied research program is to develop economically sustainable forests that are partially harvested or thinned every 5 years for farmer income and that can store CO2 for over 100 years.  Reforest the Tropics (RTT) is a U. S. non-profit organization that manages this UN environmental education and research & demonstration program.  Photo below, Sept. 17, 2012.

Hotchkiss School Forest

Hotchkiss School Forest

In this photo, the forest is 6 years and 2 months old and is presently capturing CO2 at the annual rate of above 28 metric tonnes/year for the account of Hotchkiss.

HOW MUCH CO2 HAS THIS 12-YEAR OLD FOREST CAPTURED?

Fausto in Hotchkiss School forest

Fausto in Hotchkiss School forest

 Measuring trees in RTT School projects provides data on how much CO2 the forest has accumulated for the school’s CO2 emission account.  Here, Fausto measures a Pilon tree. Below, Dr. Barres lectures to an AP Science class last April in Hotchkiss.  There are 4 elements in RTT School projects: an annual CO2 emissions inventory done with students, teaching sessions, teacher training in the forests in Costa Rica and a 2 1/2 –acre school forest to capture CO2 for the school account and to produce logs for the farmer to sell. For more information, contact Dr. Herster Barres, cell 860-912-7706 in Mystic, CT.

Dr. Barres at Hotchkiss School

Dr. Barres at Hotchkiss School

Tree Thinnings of the Forest For the Farmer

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Forests are thinned to allow the better trees to grow larger by moving upwards into the canopy space left when a tree close by is felled. The trees are very fast growing so thinning is an important strategy to managing a healthy forest which will capture carbon at an optimum rate. The forest is thinned every few years to promote growth for the remaining trees, and to provide an income for the farmer.

The forest species being thinned in these photos taken in July 2013 are Chancho and Klinkii.  These forests are sponsored by The Mohegan Tribal Nation and Superior Nut Company.

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Chancho Thinning at Mohegan Tribal Nation Forest

Klinkii Thinning at Superior Nut Company Forest

Klinkii Thinning at Superior Nut Company Forest

Case Study # 13

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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

CO2 sequestration graph

Case Study # 09

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This forest was planted in August of 2002 to offset the CO2 emissions of the Mohegan Casino in Uncasville, CT
This forest was planted in August of 2002 to offset the CO2 emissions of the Mohegan Casino in Uncasville, CT

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.

Case Study # 31

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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.

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.
RTT CASE STUDY #31: A FAMILY FOREST TO OFFSET CO2 EMISSIONS

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.

This Bike Plants Trees

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Carbon Balanced Motorcycle at the Unadilla GNCC Woods Race
Carbon Balanced Motorcycle at the Unadilla GNCC Woods Race

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 rspeed777@yahoo.com or call Reforest The Tropics at  860-514-1947.

This Bike Plants Trees

Education in the Forest

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Forest Habitat and Support Projects Photo Gallery

Forest Butterfly

Walking in the forest allows students to see more than just the trees.

Poison Dart Frog

Students from EARTH University visit RTT Forests
Students from EARTH University visit RTT Forests
Teachers from Cutler Middle School
Teachers from Cutler Middle School
Foreground food crop background the forest is growing
Foreground human food crop background the forest is growing.

New London Public School's SEMI students raised funds to offset carbon emitted by the school system.

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