Saturday, September 19, 2009

What happens when you plant 3.25 million tropical trees?

Freshly planted field of Acacia mangium
The reason I ask this question is because I did the calculations for an oil company the other day. It takes about 2,750 hectares or 7,200 acres of land to plant that many trees. That is a lot of land, so what impact would planting that many tropical trees have on global warming and climate change? Assuming the tropical trees in question were fast growing species like Acacia mangium, Caraipa llanorum and Eucalyptus pellita, to name just a few, then there should be a significant carbon offset thanks to the ability of tropical trees to sequester CO2. Since 50% or more of the woody biomass of a tropical tree is carbon, so it seems to me that anyone who is serious about reducing atmospheric carbon needs to take action and start planting.
Freshly planted field of Eucalyptus pellita
Since the average tropical tree absorbs about 50 lbs or 22.6 kg of CO2 per year, the number would have to  be enormous. Assunming the trees take a full year after planting to start sequestering that much carbon, then 3.25 million tropical trees should sequester 162.5 million lbs or 73.45 million kilograms of CO2 every year. Since tropical trees are most effective at sequestering carbon during their first 10 to 12 years of life, that means that if the trees were cared for and maintained for 10 years after becoming CO2 effective, 3.25 million trees would sequester 1.625 billion lbs or 734.5 million kilograms of CO2 during that 10 year period. That is 734,500 metric tons or 809,648 imperial tons of carbon. Clearly, this makes a lot of sense for industries like oil and gas that need to offset their CO2 emissions.

It would cost approximately $6 million dollars (including land, equipment, materials, labour and more) to plant 3.25 million trees.If one starts to factor in the other benefits, like oxygen for all of us to breathe, the removal of a large number of pollutants other than CO2 from the atmosphere by tropical trees, expanded habitat for endangered wildlife, socio-economic benefits to communities in developing countries, and the conservation of native tree species for better bio-diversity, then the price tag becomes ridiculously low. So why don't you call up your local oil and gas company or petro-chemical industry and ask them why they are not actively funding the planting of tropical trees? Send them to

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tropical trees are low risk high return!
An investment in fast growing tropical trees can return between 30% to 40% per cent non-compounded per year over a 10 year period. Can you say the same thing for your portfolio? The problem with many investors is that they think short term is one week and long term is two weeks. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that is an unlikely formula for success. What investors with that mindset are really doing is gambling with their money in hopes of some sort of a quick return. Let's call it the Vegas syndrome.

Flatline isn't just a medical term
On the opposite end of the spectrum are the people who buy government savings bonds and treasury bills, earning between 2% to 4.5% per year, a return on investment which rarely exceeds the inflation rate. Let's call it the Clueless syndrome. In the middle are the people who buy stocks, shares and mutual funds and then get defrauded by Wall Street, Bay Street and Fleet Street, while company CEO's get multi-million dollar compensation cheques for putting their company into the red. Let's call this the Mainstream syndrome.

Don't be a Mainstream syndrome victim!
With all the raped and pillaged IRA's, RRSP's and Pensions out there, one would think that people would be flocking to low risk high return opportunities like tropical trees. I used to be a victim of the Mainstream syndrome. I would deposit $200 a month to my RRSP and get a monthly statement from my mutual fund showing plus $200 for the deposit and minus $300 thanks to their investment savvy. Sound familiar? I first started investing in tropical trees in 1995, and I haven't looked back since then.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Forest Certification

Rainforest Deforestation in IndiaOne of the best ways of making sure the wood in your coffee table didn't come from a rainforest tree is by making sure that the lumber used was FSC certified. FSC means the Forest Stewardship Council, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to certifying that lumber was either legally cut or came from a plantation. FSC was Established in 1993 as a response to concerns over global deforestation. In order for Amazonia Reforestation to sell its plantation lumber into the USA and Canada, it needs to have its tropical trees FSC certified. This is a process with which most responsible wood lots and plantations are happy to comply.

Do you know where your lumber was cut?FSC has certified some 115 million hectares (1.150,000 square kilometers or 444,020 square miles) of  wood lots and forests to date. Since the organization consists of members from environmental groups, the timber industry, aboriginal groups and other stakeholders, it has broad-based appeal. It works with small forest holders and large forestry management companies alike. Certification doesn't just end at the plantation. FSC provides chain of custody certification as well, so that only certified lumber is shipped to and received by the end user.

Amazonia Reforestation follows good environmental standards
An FSC certificate tells the public and the end user that the wood producer complied with the highest environmental and social standards on the market when they produced the trees. This makes FSC certification a very credible approach to complex environmental and social issues affecting our planet. More and more timber resellers, governments and instituions are now demanding FSC certification when they are procuring lumber from sensitive sources around the world.