Sunday, November 4, 2012
At the Amazonia Reforestation La Pedregoza plantation we are experimenting with a number of innovative forestry systems. People often confuse or misunderstand the terminology used to describe those systems, so this article is meant to provide the reader with a better understanding of what those terms mean. The ultimate goal of eco-friendly tropical tree plantations like La Pedregoza is to either fully or partially implement some of these systems in their day to day operations.
The first term worth defining is silviculture. The word derives from the Latin words for forest and growing, and in its modern context describes managed forestry. The term silviculture includes the controlled planting, growth, composition, maintenance and health of a forest, established for various reasons or needs. Obviously, plantation forestry is therefore silviculture. The planter determines the type of forest to be cultivated, regardless of whether the forest is being deliberately planted or is being regenerated naturally or artificially, for example after logging. The woodlot or plantation owner chooses the type of trees, their density and the planting method to suit their objectives. It should be kept in mind that silviculture is about forestry in its narrowest sense, and is not about more expanded uses.
This brings us to the concept of agroforestry. The word is based on the idea that one can combine forestry with agriculture. Simply put, we are talking about trees on farms. The basic idea is to combine trees and shrubs with crops and with livestock. The planter combines forestry and agricultural technologies for a more varied and productive, profitable and sustainable use of the land. Three types of land use are therefore silviculture, agriculture and agroforestry. Sources like FAO (the UN’s “Food and Agriculture Organization”) and the World Bank estimate that 10% of the world’s small farmers practice some form of agroforestry, while 20% of the world’s population makes use of agroforestry products. The importance of agroforestry is best understood when one realizes that its theoretical basis is agroecology, in other words farming in an ecologically sound manner.
Agroforestry is all about intercropping, having two or more plant species growing in close proximity, and whenever possible interacting and providing benefits to each other. This is especially true for crops that enjoy a bit of shade, which trees can provide. The crops in turn might provide services to the trees, like weed control (water melons for example), or nitrogen fixing (beans for example). From the farmer’s perspective, this multiple use of the land often produces higher yields with lower input costs, and provides significantly more ecological diversity and services than do traditional monocultures. Agroforestry is more biodiverse, as it provides more habitats for birds, insects and other animals.
The benefits of agroforestry include increased wood production, as trees now grow on farmland, with more resources for local socio-economic development, like carpentry wood and wood fuel. Soil fertility is often restored in agroforestry settings, and water quality improves due to reduced nutrient and soil runoff. The trees prevent erosion and help maintain higher water tables, making areas more drought resistant, while providing food security to poor farmers with the additional planting of fruit, nut and oil trees. The planet benefits, because agroforestry reduces deforestation pressure by providing farm-grown firewood and carpentry wood. People practicing agroforestry have also noted a reduced need for the use of insecticides or herbicides. It enhances people’s health, by providing space for the cultivation of medicinal plants. The icing on the cake is the fact that agroforestry also provides long-term carbon sequestration, which helps prevent climate change, which benefits the entire planet.
At La Pedregoza our AmazoniaReforestation and CO2 Tropical Trees programs have added an additional dimension to pure silviculture and agroforestry. It is called Analog Forestry, which is a more biodiverse and environmentally friendly form of agroforestry. This is a practice that is gaining ground in a variety of tropical and sub-tropical locations. In Analog Forestry we employ a system of planned, managed forests whose function includes mimicking local ecologies and climax vegetation. Climax vegetation is best described as the tree and plant life that has established itself over millennia at a given location due to climate and other conditions. Old growth rainforests are examples of climax vegetation.
This means that the goal of Analog Forestry is to recreate as much native tree and plant life in its cultivations as possible, taking into account the dynamics of natural forest succession. Analog Forests are almost-natural forests, because they try to copy the functional and indigenous aspects of local forests as much as possible. This doesn’t mean that Analog Forests are trying to simply recreate a local ecology. They must also be able to render economic benefits. The key consideration is to first recreate local ecological conditions, before the economic values are considered. This means there is scope to mix native tree species with introduced species, and native plants, fruits and vegetables with desirable introduced ones. Each species in an Analog Forest is evaluated on the basis of its contribution to the functionality and composition of the local ecology one is trying to imitate.
La Pedregoza is a member of the InternationalAnalog Forestry Network (IAFN). The network has members around the planet who are able to contribute ideas, experiences and advice for others within the network. No one starts with an Analog Forest. It is an eco-system that is designed, planned, implemented and managed over a period of time, one that may take decades; much like a natural forest may take decades to mature. The vision is to have a forest that provides ecological, economic, social and environmental benefits that go well beyond silviculture or agroforestry. The use of non-native species, other than food crops, is carefully considered and weighed to address the needs of local biodiversity. This long term vision means that Analog Forests generally sequester carbon for longer periods than do plantation forests. Mixing a large number of species in the design reduces the economic risks that exist in cases where there is reliance on just one or two species. At La Pedregoza our long term commitment and vision is to slowly turn every area into Analog Forest for maximum ecological and biodiversity benefits, while still enjoying financial sustainability.
Sunday, June 24, 2012
By Dexter B. Dombro
|One year old cashew tree.|
One of the biggest concerns for investors in reforestation projects is the long time it takes for trees to be ready to harvest. Ten to twenty years without cash flow is a very scary proposition for most people. One solution is agroforestry, with cash flow crops planted inside the tree plantation, or to raise sheep, which can feed and fertilize around the trees. Another option is to plant fruit trees that offer some cash flow. It is this latter option that offers some amazing opportunities to tropical tree plantation owners. Specifically, let me talk about the opportunities that come from the cultivation of cashew trees (Anacardium occidentale).
|3 year old cashew trees. Note the spacing.|
The cashew tree is native to the Orinoco River basin, perfectly adapted to poor acidic soils, high rainfall (above 2,000 mm or 79” a year), a dry season with no or little rain, and open savannah conditions with intense sunshine when first planted. Cashew trees are now cultivated in many equatorial regions of the world, such as India, Mozambique and Brazil. At Amazonia Reforestation in Vichada, Colombia, they plant cashew trees that have been grafted, using local roots, but enhanced fruit bearing stems. The cultivation is usually done in grids of 12m by 12m or 40’ by 40’, resulting in approximately 60 trees per hectare (25 trees per acre). The trees naturally develop an umbrella shaped canopy that radiates some 6 meters or 20’ around from the tree trunk, hence the spacing. It allows the tree to bear a maximum amount of fruits and therefore nuts, and makes picking of the fruits and nuts easier.
|Two year old cashew tree.|
As with any tree in poor soils, the addition of organic material, such as cattle or chicken manure or compost will greatly enhance fruit production. In Colombia’s plains the addition of coffee plantation fertilizer (17-6-18-2) has been found to work well. While the tree is not a fast growing tree, it starts producing fruit after its third year, and by year five is considered to be producing at a commercial rate. Commercial plantations expect to have 35 years of good productivity before production declines, and the trees need to be replaced.
|Nut and fruit form soon after flowering.|
Production will average 1 ton of cashew nuts per hectare for 35 years. The world price for cashew nuts ranges between $7,000 USD to $8,000 USD per metric ton FOB plantation gate. A plantation with 100 hectares of cashew trees in marginal soils can therefore look forward to some $750,000 USD in annual cash flow just from the nuts. But it gets better! Each nut grows on the end of the cashew fruit. The fruits have a gross weight that on average is 8 times greater than the nut. That means there is 8 tons of fruit per hectare. The fruit can be processed as pulp for juices, as dried fruit or as an extract for natural cough syrups.
|Typical fruit with nut at end.|
The fruit juice has 5 times more vitamin C per glass than does orange juice (262 mg of Vitamin C per 100 ml of juice), and the pulp has ready markets for industrial and medicinal uses. If that isn’t of interest to you, the fruit can also be fermented into a wine, or distilled into liquor (feni) that is popular in places like India, where demand for feni greatly exceeds available supply. There are other uses for the tree, not the least of it being the eventual harvest and sale of the timber once it has used up its productive life and the tree needs to be replanted. This should give the reader an idea of just one example of the many possible cash flow solutions that exist in tropical forestry settings. At Amazonia Reforestation and CO2 Tropical Trees this is also a socio-economic development process that offers local people opportunities.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
|Bertoldo looking for Sassafras trees.|
Reforestation / afforestation efforts often involve planting trees that have a proven history of commercial success, fast growth and ease of cultivation. This copies the same pattern that has seen biodiversity in crops decline around the world, as most agriculture revolves around a limited number of species. At La Pedregoza one of our objectives is to practice multispecies cultivation that includes native trees. The importance of this is obvious when one visits large teak plantations in Costa Rica, as they are usually devoid of insects, birds and local wildlife, because teak is a tree from south Asia that is not part of local niche habitats.
|How do I get up this Sassafras?|
At La Pedregoza we rapidly focused in on the vast variety of native tree species to be found in the Orinoco River basin of Vichada, Colombia. Many of these trees have exotic qualities, be that wood, termite resistance, fruits, nuts, oils, resins or natural medicines. We soon discovered that some native trees appear to be fast growing, but that there is virtually no data available on seed germination, propagation, planting methods or best cultivation practices. During this process we learned that many species of native trees are listed in the red books of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as endangered, vulnerable or threatened.
|Acosmium nitens test cultivation.|
Amazonia Reforestation and CO2 Tropical Trees programs at La Pedregoza are based on a desire to preserve biodiversity on our planet. Some 90% of terrestrial biodiversity lives in forests. Many of those animals are niche dependent, for example everyone learns in school about Koala bears needing eucalyptus trees and giant Pandas depending on bamboo forests. At La Pedregoza we have birds, amphibians and mammals that depend on certain types of native trees for food, shelter and nesting areas. Planting native tree species soon became not just an objective for our reforestation efforts and for our Reserva Natural La Pedregoza, but a passion.
|Bertoldo climbing Salivón tree.|
Due to our wet and dry seasons we are able to collect most of our native tree seeds in the second half of the dry season and the early part of the wet season. Most trees flower in the first half of the dry season, so the best time for us to collect most native tree seeds is predictable. This does not mean it is an easy process. Monkeys, macaws, parrots and ants compete with us for the fruits and seeds of several trees that are on the endangered list. Once the rains start we experience flooding in the rainforest, with seeds falling into the water and washing away. Climbing the trees can be dangerous, as many seeds can only be found high in the rainforest canopy. This makes the seed collection process expensive, time consuming and often disappointing when seeds have already been lost.
|Endangered Ocotea cymbarum seeds.|
This March and April of 2012 our foreman, Bertoldo Aldana, our plantation administrator, Oscar Forero Azabache, and I were able to collect native trees seeds from a variety of species. Some of what we collected includes 3000 Congrio seeds (Acosmium nitens), 1100 endangered Sassafras seeds (Ocotea cymbarum), 6000 Saladillo blanco (Vochysia obscura), 1200 latex producing Pendare or Salivón seeds (Parahancornia oblonga), 800 threatened latex producing Madroño seeds (Rheedia madrunno), and several hundred Moriche palm seeds (Mauritia flexuosa) to plant for use by local indigenous artisans.
|Extracting Salivón seeds from fruits.|
Once the seeds are collected various things happen. First off we maintain a photographic record of the seeds and their appearance for future reference. Next we do various experimental germination trays, so see what works best (direct in soil, soaked for 24 or 48 hours, fired to crack seed cover, rubbing sand paper on germination end of seed etc.). This data is of course recorded. Once the seeds sprout we transfer them to planting bags containing soil that has been treated for bacteria and fungi. Usually larger than normal planting bags are used, because we do not fully understand the type of early root system these native trees produce, so that is something we monitor. The seedlings are then placed in the tree nursery where we observe their early growth. This is usually an indication of root development as well, which in turn lets us determine how soon the seedling can be transferred to the open field. While in the nursery the seedlings are provided with some shade, but we try to remove the shade once growth starts, so that the little trees can better withstand the conditions they will encounter once planted in the field.
|Saladillo blanco sprouting table.|
Native trees pose special problems for us at La Pedregoza, because in Vichada’s Orinoco River basin many of these trees are adapted to inundation forest and low lying area conditions. That means they may require annual flooding. It is hard to do soil preparation in low lying areas, as the soil may be very wet and soft, making mechanical soil preparation difficult. It also affects how we apply lime to balance soil pH, fertilizer and organic material, as flooding may wash those substances away before the tree can make use of them. Part of what we do is to plant native trees in both low lying areas, and in areas with better drainage. For example, even though Congrio (Acosmium nitens) typically grows in the inundation forest, we have experienced better growth results with this species in less humid areas, than in low-lying inundation areas. Once again all of this data is collected and tracked.
|Ripe Acosmium nitens seed pods.|
Our long term goal to become a seed bank for native tree species is shared with the Omacha Foundation and with Europe’s Tree-Nation. Our common goal is to conserve species that are endangered, vulnerable or threatened. It is our believe that if we can commercialize those species, by providing access to seeds, germination and planting instructions and information on growth expectations and carbon sequestration, then other plantations will start to cultivate these species. That will reduce or remove the pressure those species experience in natural forests, reduce illegal logging and allow for the species to recover over time. Commercializing a species may appear to some to be an unwelcome development, but it is a process that is most likely to prevent a species’ extinction and to have an impact on maintaining and conserving biodiversity.
|Congrio seeds are like apple seeds.|
Dexter B. Dombro is one of the founders of Amazonia Reforestation, CO2 Tropical Trees and of the Reserva Natural La Pedregoza in Vichada, Colombia. La Pedregoza is one of the featured plantations within Tree-Nation. Dexter is a member of the IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas and is dedicated to biodiversity conservation in the Orinoco River basin. The La Pedregoza plantation was founded in 2007.
Monday, April 16, 2012
Amazonia Reforestation is planting 5 hectares of Vochysia obscura of the Vochysiaceae family at its La Pedregoza plantation. Known locally as Saladillo blanco this tropical tree has many of the characteristics foresters look for. It is fast growing to harvestable maturity (10 to 15 years). It can be planted in marginal soils with high pH content. It does well in low lying areas subject to inundation, allowing for the economic use of areas that do not have good drainage. Best of all, it has a trunk that grows straight and tall, producing fine wood with great commercial acceptance.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Teak is the common name for the tropical tree and wood of Tectona grandis. This popular investment tree is native to south and southeast Asia, but is also planted as an introduced species in Africa, Central and South America. Teak is grown in plantation settings, because its fine wood has a large market and demand. The teak tree can be a very good investment, with high returns, but it may take as much as 30 years for plantation teak trees to be big enough to sell. The yellowish brown wood is used for fine furniture, outdoor furniture, boat decks and other articles, where weather endurance is required. The wood is mostly termite and insect resistant. Other popular uses include wooden bowls, cutting boards, arts and crafts, indoor flooring, veneers and finishing wood. There is an environmental concern, because of past reckless logging of old growth teak, though the majority of teak wood now comes from plantations.
The market for teak wood is always good, provided one is selling mature lumber from larger trees (25 to 30 years). The market for lumber from small teak trees is very limited (12 to 20 years) and does not fetch anywhere near the prices paid for large, mature logs and sawn lumber. Many firms offer investments in teak plantations, and some of them are reliable business partners. However, while teak is a high return commodity, it is not a quick return investment. This article will briefly address some of the issues that teak investors should consider, and contrast those considerations with other possibilities.
Teak trees need relatively good soil in which to grow. They do not do well in poor or infertile soils. If a planter can match the soil and rain conditions found in Burma (Myanmar), they will have excellent results. Similar conditions are known to exist in Costa Rica, Panama and parts of Colombia. The downside of this fact is that other, faster growing trees or crops can be grown in places set aside for teak trees, which sometimes puts pressure on teak plantations that require many years to produce mature trees. It is not uncommon for teak plantation owners to cut down their immature teak trees to make way for other agricultural or housing projects that offer a quicker cash flow solution to the land owner.
Tectona grandis does not provide any other cash flow while it is growing. There is a limited use of the leaves in south India and Indonesia as a wrap for steamed preparations, but that is of no commercial value. Many other species of tropical trees have fruits, nuts, honey or resins that can be sold while the trees are growing. Experience in Central America has shown that teak is not that environmentally friendly in regions where it is an introduced species. A common observation by visitors to teak plantations in the Americas is that they are devoid of bird, animal or insect life. Additional issues are the fact that teak trees need good soils that could be used for food production, and the fact that teak is generally planted in monocultures due to the high cost of good land.
From an investment perspective the long time to maturity required by teak trees needs to be considered when investing in their cultivation. Best intentions do not resolve practical problems. For example, will the planter with whom one invested still be alive in 25 to 30 years? Does the company operating the plantation have a continuity plan which the investor can trust? What happens to the trees in the event of a bankruptcy or other form of liquidation? What happens if land prices increase exponentially mid-way through the growth cycle, putting pressure on the land owner? Even if the trees are somehow protected, who will see to future fertilizations, pruning, culling, fire breaks and other maintenance if the original company or plantation owner is no longer active?
It is also worth thinking in terms of insurance. The longer the growth period for a tree, the more exposure one has to potential natural disasters like fire, pests, floods, droughts or diseases. This risk factor is obviously much smaller with fast-growing tree species that mature in 10 years versus 30 years. As a teak investor one should definitely inquire as to a company’s or plantation owner’s Plan B or insurance. For example, Amazonia Reforestation in Colombia, which does not cultivate teak, has a self-insurance plan that involves planting twice the number of tropical trees for which it has financial obligations, as well as planting a variety of species to reduce risks.
This does not mean one should not invest in teak, but rather that it is important to do so with open eyes and a full understanding of the long time commitment required by successful teak plantations. Diversifying so that one has holdings in other, faster growing tropical tree species, as well as teak, makes a lot of sense. Teak is not the only game in town, so having a tropical tree investment strategy that includes other species is a good thing. Teak investments are usually more costly than other tree species, because of the long maintenance period involved, but the payoff is not something one will regret. As with other tropical tree species, it is correct to say that teak trees can be low to medium risk but high return.
Friday, July 1, 2011
This year Amazonia Reforestation planted 50 hectares or 124 acres of Caribbean Pine or Pinus caribaea, a member of the Pinaceae family. The tree grows well in areas from sea level to 700 m or 2,300 feet, with ample rainfall between 2000 to 3000 mm (78 to 118 inches) per annum. Since Amazonia Reforestation works in the Orinoco River basin of Vichada, Colombia, it meets those criteria readily, as its plantations average 60 m (197 feet) above sea level with annual rainfall around 2,400 mm (95 inches). Pinus caribaea likes sandy, well drained soils with some gravel content, tolerates pH between 5.0 to 5.5 and temperatures ranging from 25 to 38 degrees centigrade (77 to 100 Fahrenheit), all normal conditions in Vichada.
In some ways Pinus caribaea resembles pines with which people from North America or Europe may be familiar, such as evergreen needles and cones. However, that is where the similarity ends, as Caribbean Pine is a fast growing (15 to 20 years to maturity) softwood tree with wood that is harder than many varieties of maple. This tropical tree has a mostly well-formed and straight trunk that culminates in a pyramidal crown at its top. The tree grows to be 30 to 35 meters (98 to 115 feet) in height, with a trunk that measures from 50 to 100 cm (20 to 40 inches) in diameter, depending on local conditions. The basic density of Pinus caribaea is expressed as being 586 kilograms per cubic meter of green volume, but with a natural hardness that makes the tree suitable for flooring and other uses. The heartwood is considered termite resistant. These factors have made Caribbean Pine a popular plantation species, with an attractive grain, that is profitable, sequesters carbon, and is internationally recognized.
Amazonia Reforestation uses certified seeds from Venezuela, where Caribbean Pine is grown in similar conditions to Vichada. Seeds from Honduras and Guatemala have proven not to be suitable for use in the Orinoco River basin, probably because of their origin in higher, cooler elevations. Trees have both male and female flowers and cones, though some trees may be only male or female. Seed germination is usually easy in managed conditions. Local conditions in Vichada have led Amazonia Reforestation to employ a slightly different process in its tree nurseries, with seedlings being exposed to full sunlight to minimize future shock when transplanted to the field. Soil preparation is as usual important, with plowing to a depth of 75 cm (30 inches) and fertilization using special forestry mixes containing nitrogen. Seedlings are planted in the field when they are only 8 to 10 cm (3 to 4 inches) tall, but this allows the seedling to quickly strike deep roots for better and faster future growth. Seedlings that are planted when they are 20 cm (6 to 8 inches) or taller often have problems, because their roots will start to grow upwards inside the planting bag, causing failure once they are in the field. Planting occurs in grids with trees spaced 2.8 to 3 meters (9 to 10 feet) apart.
Revenue can be generated early (15 years) when the trees are sold for pulpwood, thanks to the wood’s long tracheids. Besides paper, the pulp can be used for fiberboard, particleboard and chipboard. Opinions differ on its usefulness for furniture, but the fact is that toys, moldings, floor boards and other uses are common. The wood has a high resin content, which may affect gluing and finishing, but on the plus side the trees can be tapped from age 10 years on, with daily harvests of oleoresins, used for turpentine and gum. The oil also finds use in medicinal applications, and the pine nuts are a popular food source in many countries. On the service side, Pinus caribaea has proven itself invaluable for clothing heavily eroded lands containing acidic soils with a tree cover. As with many plantation species, Caribbean Pine is a valuable tropical tree popular with wood growers and profitable for plantation investors.
Monday, May 2, 2011
1. For lumber. Most people realize that if plantation wood is not available, then lumber will be cut from existing natural rain forest. It is worth repeating that it is better to have one’s coffee table made out of plantation wood, and not out of old growth tropical forest.
2. For profit. If afforestation and reforestation projects are not profitable, they are not financially sustainable. The fuzzy logic of many NGO’s on this issue is proven wrong by the reality on the ground. Humans need lumber resources for furniture, construction, boat building, farming, renewable energy and numerous other applications. Simply planting trees and then expecting them not to face the same problems forests have faced in the past is ridiculous. This means that profitable plantations can become the buffer that allows natural reserves and parks to protect biodiversity and natural forests. Profit is also boosted by demand, as humans give rabbits a run for procreativity. Don’t believe it? China now has more than 1.3 billion people, with India snapping at China’s heels, and with all of those people needing building materials, furniture, wood products, paper and fuel.
3. For biodiversity. Green companies like Amazonia Reforestation have programs to collect seeds and propagate native tree species that have been recklessly logged in the past. This is a challenging and expensive process, as there is often little information on germination, planting times, or even when or how to collect seeds. Propagation is challenged by the preference of many tropical trees to grow in social settings, in low-lying areas, or in areas subject to inundation. These factors make soil preparation, fertilization and forest management difficult. The founders of Amazonia Reforestation, members of the IUCN`s World Commission on Protected Areas, have created a natural reserve for this purpose, as an additional means of preserving biodiversity, and to inspire others to follow their lead.
4. For expanded wildlife habitat. Many animals are niche specific. This means that if native tree species are decimated, it has a direct impact on biodiversity and on the survival of many species of wildlife. By planting native tree species, responsible companies can expand wildlife habitat, while still providing lumber resources for human use. Amazonia Reforestation does this in both its natural reserve and in its plantation areas.
5. For carbon sequestration. It is scientific fact that tropical trees are very effective at carbon sequestration. Each fast growing tropical plantation tree sequesters as much as 50 lbs or 22.6 kg of carbon a year. Well over 50% of their woody biomass is carbon. Planting tropical trees is a major method of dealing with atmospheric carbon, which has gone from 350 ppm in 1985 to 393 ppm in April 2011 (Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii). CO2 Tropical Trees promotes that fast growing tropical trees are most effective at carbon sequestration within the first 10 years of their lives, a fact that jives well with human lumber requirements, leaving the carbon trapped in the wood for decades after harvest.
6. For cloud seeding. The natural process of transpiration by forests creates cloud in the atmosphere that in turn bounces solar rays back into space, thereby cooling the Earth. Deforestation causes the opposite effect, including desertification of the planet and a hotter climate. An investment in tropical trees therefore offers up a double whammy against climate change and global warming thanks to cloud seeding and carbon capture.
7. For land reclamation. Many plantation species do well in infertile tropical soils, fixing nitrogen and depositing carbon in the soil, building up the soil so that after a harvest other more exotic and delicate species can be planted. Tropical tree planters like Amazonia Reforestation and CO2 Tropical Trees choose Acacia mangium, Azadirachta indica (Neem) and other legume family trees for nitrogen fixing, Eucalyptus pellita for water retention and wind breaks, Pinus caribaea, Caraipa llanorum (Saladillo) and Anacardium occidentale (cashew ) for acidic soils, to name a few. All of these tropical trees are planted with the long term goal of building up the soil, removing pollutants from the air, preventing erosion and allowing improved use of the soil in the future.
8. For socio-economic development. Tropical trees provide local communities with more than just some jobs in the lumber industry. They also allow for the creation of spin-off industries in developing countries, including apiculture, tannins and dyes, insecticides and fungicides, repellents and toxins, fruits and nuts, medicinal and naturopathic products, arts and crafts, foods and liquors, gums and adhesives, resins and varnishes, latex and oils, boat building and musical instruments, eco-tourism and adventure tourism, fuel and charcoal, animal fodder and protection, as well as agroforestry, permaculture and analog forestry opportunities. More people around the globe with disposable incomes helps to increase demand for tropical hardwoods.
9. For renewable energy. Many countries now require that power generation involve a significant percentage of alternative energy. Solar, wind and water energy are not always practical or available. That leaves biomass as an additional option. Biomass can be almost carbon neutral, as it only releases what it absorbed from the atmosphere in the first place, which is better than the steady addition of atmospheric CO2 caused by hydrocarbons like petroleum and coal. Many fast growing plantation species have high calorific values, which when compressed into wood pellets and similar products can rival coal for kcal (kilocalorie) output.
10. For afforestation and reforestation. At present, people worldwide are only planting 10% of the trees we are harvesting, burning or removing on an annual basis. This is clearly not sustainable, as evidenced by climate change, desertification and loss of biodiversity. This in turn has a direct impact on the human spirit, on our health and on the survival of our planet. Green investors plant trees for a better world and because it is low risk but high return.