Saturday, September 17, 2011

Issues and Alternatives for Teak Investors

Teak trees produce valuable wood
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.

Typical teak plantation in Costa RicaThe 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 is not a fast growing tree
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.

Introduced teak is not environmentally friendly
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.

Teak can be a profitable investment
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?

Teak tree flowers
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.
Teak spans a range of colors

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

Caribbean Pine – a profitable plantation tree!

Pinus caribaea in tree nursery.
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.

Caribbean Pine just after planting in soil.
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.

Workers on way from nursery to field with Caribbean Pine seedlings.
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.

One year old Caribbean Pine trees in Vichada.
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

10 Reasons Why Planting Tropical Trees is a Good Investment

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. 

Acacia mangium plantation2. 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.

Native tree planting3. 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.

Eucalyptus pellita plantation4. 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.

CO2 Tropical Trees sticker5. 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.

Fast growing Acacia mangium6. 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.

Cashew in acidic soil7. 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.

Tree planting boosts development8. 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.

Reserva Natural La Pedregoza9. 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.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Good Plantation Management Issues

2010 Cultivation
Amazonia Reforestation and CO2 Tropical Trees have had 3 excellent years of tree planting, with 2011  promising to be even more exciting and rewarding. The tropical trees we have planted to date are doing extremely well. We have lost significantly less than 1% of the trees we have planted, thanks to good forest management practices. At present we have some 300,000 trees in the ground and we are planting 425,000 more trees this year (340 hectares or 815 acres). That means that as of August 2011 we will have over $50 million dollars’ worth of fast-growing tropical hardwood trees growing in our plantations.

Some people think that planting trees simply involves sticking them in the ground and they will grow, without more. Many are astonished to learn that it costs approximately $1 million dollars to plant 1,000 hectares (2,470 acres) of tropical trees properly. The reality is that there are a lot of steps that need to be taken for success. This article sets out 10 of the early steps we take at Amazonia Reforestation:

  1. One needs to have a good source of seeds. Seeds with bad genetics or seeds taken from the wrong climate will often not grow or produce poor results and gimped trees.
  2. Stuffing Planting BagsThe tree nursery needs to be professionally managed. Planting bags that are not stuffed firmly with soil  allow too much air around the roots of the seedling, causing the roots to dry out or the soil to fall away when the seedlings are planted. Due to the hot climate we need to provide shade for the seedlings, with just enough light for good photo-synthesis. Our irrigation system needs to spread a fine mist of water vapor so as to not harm many of the seedlings, while they set roots. The tree nursery needs to be fenced to stop wildlife from munching on the tender little seedlings. There is much more to say about nurseries, but that is for another day.
  3. Good soil preparation is extremely important. We plough the soil to a depth of 75 cm and sometimes as deep as 90 cm, depending on the species. That is because tropical trees set deep roots in the soil. Good soil preparation allows the trees to grow faster, because then they are not struggling to break through compacted soil. Deep roots prevent losses due to high winds or wet swampy soil.
  4. Most tropical soils are infertile, which means we need to provide the trees with proper nutrition if we want fast and good results. At La Pedregoza we use a special mix of forestry fertilizer that contains nothing but elements, no chemicals and no inert matter. This allows the trees to grow quickly, after which they become self-sufficient using photo-synthesis, carbon capture and recycling to grow. Virtually all rain forest trees are perfect recycling systems, which is why soils in Amazon deforestation areas are often poor after the trees are removed.
  5. Our fertilizer mix also contains calcium or lime. The tree doesn't need the lime directly, but it is required in order to balance the PH levels of tropical soils, which are often acidic due to thousands of years of pounding tropical rains, that leach the soil, leaving it acidic. The lime also softens the soil, which might otherwise bake into a cement-like hardness, allowing the roots of the seedling to quickly spread in the soil. Most tropical trees prefer a balanced PH soil.
  6. Tree NurseryThe tropical trees we plant are known to be good for land reclamation projects, because they can survive in poor or infertile soils. In fact, because of their ability to fix nitrogen and carbon in the soil, they allow us to improve the soil in the first cycle of planting, so that we can plant more demanding and sensitive tree species in the second planting cycle. This means that harvesting plantation species allows us to plant native tree species for better bio-diversity in the future.
  7. Forest planting has to occur in mid-rainy season. If we plant too early the seedlings might get  swamped and drown. If we plant too late, they may not be able to build up sufficient water reserves to survive the dry season. Tree planting in mid-rainy season means that we become a large employer of temporary workers, who do nothing but plant trees for a solid month. Usually we employ our workers for 4 months, from nursery through soil preparation to planting and clean-up. Tree planting is an important source of socio-economic development in the region.
  8. We establish good fire breaks all around and throughout the plantation. This prevents grass fires and forest fires from damaging the new trees or from spreading. Once the trees become more than 3 years of age most of them act as natural fire breaks against grass fires, because hardwood trees do not burn as easily as softwood trees.
  9. La Pedregoza usually does 3 fertilizations of the trees, one when planting, another in 12 months and  the final one at 24 months. The fertilizer is mixed into the soil so that it goes to the roots when it  rains and is not washed off by the rain. Surface fertilization does not work. This is more labor intensive, but well worth the results.
  10. Soil PreparationFast growing tropical trees reach a peek at about 24 months of age, after which they continue to grow  more slowly as they build up biomass in the tree trunk. This is the point at which some species require  pruning for better wood quality, or where they have bifurcated trunks that may retard their overall growth. This is also the point at which the trees start to provide enough shade so that there is no longer any undergrowth, reducing fire risk and creating a tropical forest canopy effect that in turn helps to cool the Earth.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Edmonton Family Saves Rainforest article in Edmonton Journal

Amazonia Reforestation and the Reserva Natural La Pedregoza were reported in the Edmonton Journal today, January 31, 2011, and appeared in their on-line edition as front page news. Here is a link to the article:

The Edmonton Journal article also includes some pictures. The article quotes Dexter Dombro, Kochurani Dombro, Dilmun Dombro and Fernando Trujillo of the Omacha Foundation.

Dexter Dombro at Afforestation Area
Dexter Dombro     with just planted Acacia mangium.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Canadian Family Creates Natural Reserve in Colombia

January 24, 2011 Press Release

Inundation Forest at La Pedregoza
Bogotá - Three members of a Canadian family from Edmonton have successfully  created a natural reserve in the Orinoco River basin of Colombia. The reserve, known in Spanish as the Reserva Natural La Pedregoza, is located some 57 km from the Orinoco port city of Puerto Carreño in the eastern Colombian department or state of Vichada. The reserve is some 10 square kilometers in size and features 3 old growth inundation and gallery forests along the banks of the Rio el Bita river.

Dexter Dombro    , a former Alberta lawyer, his wife Dr. Kochurani Dombro    , an Edmonton dentist, and their eldest son Dilmun Dombro    , a science student, have been engaged for the past 3 years in tropical tree afforestation and reforestation efforts in the Orinoco River basin of Colombia. “When the opportunity presented itself to conserve and protect this very special area, we put our money where our mouths are!” said Dexter Dombro, “It seemed completely self-evident that this was the right thing to do.”

River Turtle Eggs at La Pedregoza
Colombian law allows private people to acquire land and to then apply to have it declared a protected area. The Colombian agency entrusted with this is called Resnatur. Resnatur has formally accredited the Reserva Natural La Pedregoza as a member of the Colombian Network Association of Civil Society Natural Reserves (Asociación Red Colombiano de Reservas Naturales de la Sociedad Civil). Lourdes Peñuela Recio, V.P. of the Green Horizon Foundation (Fundación Horizonte Verde) of Colombia has welcomed this natural reserve among protected areas in what is called the Orinoco node.

Old Growth Tree at La Pedregoza
The main objective of the Reserva Natural La Pedregoza is the conservation and  preservation of Orinoco River basin flora and fauna. Colombia is estimated to have up to 8% of the planet’s biodiversity within its borders, making it hugely important. The natural reserve helps protect that biodiversity with three key programs: 1. the collection, germination and propagation of native tree species, many of which were recklessly logged in the past, 2. a dedicated large river turtle rescue effort with an endangered river turtle egg hatchery and release program, and 3. the construction of an Interpretive Centre to educate locals and international visitors alike on the importance of the inundation and gallery forests in the Orinoco River basin.

Baby Caiman at La Pedregoza
Fernando Trujillo, Ph.D., managing director of the renowned Omacha Foundation (Fundación Omacha), stated: “La Pedregoza is important, because it adds to the protected corridor for endangered wildlife travelling to and from the El Tuparro National Park (Parque Nacional Natural El Tuparro). In addition, their native tree program will help expand habitat for endangered wildlife.” Dr. Debra Davidson of the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences has visited Reserva Natural La Pedregoza and was one of the instigators for the U of A to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Dombro family for U of A researchers to use the natural reserve as a research area.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Jatropha curcas – Part 2: 101 Reasons for Planting

Plantation owners often make lists of the benefits, uses and advantages of planting certain species of tropical trees. More often than not the list of benefits vastly exceeds the perceived negatives. It is with that in mind that this list of Jatropha curcas benefits and uses has been adapted from a Brazilian plantation by Amazonia Reforestation in Colombia, together with the addition of some extra comments. This is a typical example of why tropical trees hold such promise. Hopefully it will address some of the questions people may have about adopting this tree for large scale biodiesel and renewable energy production.
  1. Jatropha curcas is a perennial plant, meaning that it can live for many decades and does not need to be replanted on an annual basis. This makes for economic efficiency.
  2. This tree can survive in infertile and marginal soils and can be used for land reclamation, including in near desert-like conditions, while improving soil fertility. This means that Jatropha curcas survives in soils that are not suited to food production.
  3. In contrast to African oil palms, Jatropha curcas is a social plant that does well with other species, making it suitable for agroforestry, analog forestry and permaculture cultivation, without affecting its own oil production.
  4. The tree will grow in hard conditions, making it useful as a rural hedge or boundary plant.
  5. Due to its size, it is easy to harvest the fruits and seeds of Jatropha curcas.
  6. Cultivation of this tree requires only low-skill labour, making it ideal for creating employment in developing countries.
  7. The maintenance of Jatropha curcas cultivations is relatively simple and is not labour intensive.
  8. The employment created by Jatropha curcas retains labour in rural areas, so that people do not migrate to the slums of big cities.
  9. The primary product from Jatropha curcas is oil ideally suited to bio-diesel production, at a fraction of the cost of diesel fuel from non-renewable sources.
  10. The mulch or cake left over after oil extraction from the fruits is rich in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, making it an excellent fertilizer.
  11. The mulch or cake can be readily used as compost and substratum.
  12. The mulch or cake can also be placed in bio-digestion tanks, producing a gas that can be used to generate heat or electricity.
  13. Planting Jatropha curcas can reclaim and upgrade degraded soils.
  14. The first harvest of oil seed fruits can occur as early as 180 days after planting.
  15. Jatropha curcas is highly resistant to plagues, diseases, pests and fungi, eliminating the need for costly pesticides and the environmental problems they entail.
  16. Harvest times in dry areas can be regulated by having a fixed irrigation schedule for the trees.
  17. Because of its deep roots, irrigation need only occur once every 20 or so days in a managed setting, though that is not relevant in areas with high rainfall.
  18. Six months after planting, Jatropha curcas becomes resistant to attacks by ants and termites.
  19. The tree can be co-planted by market garden operations for pest control.
  20. It will grow in mixed plantations with popular Syringa trees (Melia azedarach), a mahogany family tree that is often toxic to other species.
  21. Jatropha curcas does not require the clearing of other species in order to be cultivated.
  22. Jatropha curcas cultivation does not compete with plants cultivated for food production.
  23. The cost of its oil on a per gallon basis is less than the price of petroleum oil.
  24. The tree grows rapidly and vigorously, but does not exceed 6 meters in height.
  25. This tree can produce even larger harvests in more fertile soils.
  26. Jatropha curcas is an excellent cash flow generator for small farmers and rural land dwellers.
  27. The oil from Jatropha curcas can be used as an organic pesticide when sprayed on other cultivations.
  28. The oil from Jatropha curcas has been successfully used to combat the horn fly (Haematobia irritans), a serious livestock pest.
  29. The tree can be easily planted in areas where mechanical cultivation is difficult or impossible.
  30. There is no requirement for agricultural equipment in order to cultivate Jatropha curcas, making it very affordable for socio-economic development projects.
  31. The tree produces an average of 5,000 seeds per hectare (2.47 acres).
  32. Average oil production by Jatropha curcas is 1,650 liters per hectare (435 gallons).
  33. This tree also produces some 3,200 kg (7,040 lbs) per hectare of mulch or cake from the fruits and the seed residue after oil extraction.
  34. The bulk oil of the Jatropha curcas tree can render over 94% esters, a chemical compound used by industry in numerous processes.
  35. This tree can be effective for erosion control, because of its deep roots, quick growth and minimal requirements.
  36. Planting Jatropha curcas helps to stop desertification of the planet in poor and marginal soil zones.
  37. Jatropha curcas can tolerate brackish water, an important planting issue in many marginal areas.
  38. The oil of this tree can be used in the manufacture of stains, tints and varnishes.
  39. The tree’s oil can be used as a purgative or contraceptive remedy, though caution is in order due to its highly toxic nature.
  40. Jatropha curcas will kill a toxic weed known as Tiririca (Cyperus rotundus), which kills other plants around it.
  41. The gas produced from the anaerobic fermentation of Jatropha curcas is a recognized source of heat.
  42. The methane gas produced by the mulch or cake can be used to operate electrical generating equipment.
  43. Jatropha curcas oil transformed into bio-diesel is 80% less contaminating than petro-chemical diesel.
  44. Bio-diesel made with Jatropha curcas oil does not contain any sulphur.
  45. Bio-diesel from this tree is ecologically sound and carbon neutral.
  46. The cultivation of Jatropha curcas is not known to affect any other type of cultivation.
  47. This tree can be easily included in gardens, acreages and small homesteads, without large space requirements.
  48. Every Jatropha curcas tree that is planted can sequester some 8 kg (17.6 lbs) of carbon per year. In a commercial cultivation plants may be 2 meters X 2 meters apart, for 2,500 plants per hectare (2.47 acres). This means that a typical plantation would be able to sequester 20,000 kg (44,100 lbs) of carbon per year per hectare. This makes the tree of interest to CO2 Tropical Trees.
  49. The oil can be used to make soaps and detergents.
  50. The oil can be used as fuel in oil lamps and kerosene lanterns.
  51. The oil does not smoke when burnt in oil lamps, improving the quality of life for rural dwellers.
  52. When planted at 20 cm intervals (7.5 inches) Jatropha curcas makes an excellent fence for a pig corral or sty.
  53. The trees can serve as a windbreak.
  54. The trees can be planted as hedges or fences, eliminating the need for barbed wire. Cattle won’t eat Jatropha curcas because they know it is toxic.
  55. Birds will not eat the seeds, so there are no losses before harvest.
  56. Wildlife will not eat the seeds, so there are no losses before harvest.
  57. Jatropha curcas will happily co-exist with Mamona shrubs (Ricinus communis), another plant with toxic oil seeds planted in developing countries.
  58. Jatropha curcas will happily co-exist with Lead trees (Leucaena family), popular for firewood, charcoal, fodder and other uses in developing countries.
  59. Jatropha curcas will happily co-exist with Moringa trees (Moringa oleifera), important food and medicinal trees in developing countries.
  60. Jatropha curcas will happily co-exist with Sisal plants (Agave sisalana), important providers of rope, twine and other products used in developing countries.
  61. Folk wisdom has it that planting this tree on the left hand side of the door protects the inhabitants against the evil eye.
  62. The shells around the oil seeds can serve as animal feed, as they are not toxic.
  63. The shells around the oil seeds can be burnt in small boilers or heaters as a heat source.
  64. A tea made from the leaves of Jatropha curcas has been used to fight the effects of malaria in developing countries.
  65. The tree can be propagated using cuttings instead of seeds.
  66. This tree produces fruits in less than a year, making for frequent harvests.
  67. Jatropha curcas does not mind being pruned.
  68. The Jatropha curcas tree flowers between 3 to 5 times per year.
  69. There is a bifurcation of shoots on the tree after every flowering, so that branches stay healthy and productive.
  70. Beehives can be established next to the Jatropha curcas cultivation.
  71. Every hectare of Jatropha curcas will render 20 to 40 kg (44 to 88 lbs) of honey per year.
  72. Keeping bees in the proximity of a Jatropha curcas cultivation increases oil production thanks to the bees’ pollination efforts.
  73. Cash flow improves with honey sales from frequently flowering Jatropha curcas trees.
  74. Jatropha curcas can be planted with goats present, as the goats will leave the trees alone.
  75. Honey from Jatropha curcas cultivations is believed to have medicinal properties, upping its value.
  76. The albumen or seed protein of this tree contains starch which can be used to produce alcohol.
  77. The fallen leaves and twigs of the Jatropha curcas serve as useful ground cover against erosion and for retaining moisture.
  78. As fallen leaves and twigs decompose they turn into rich organic material that improves soil quality.
  79. The pruned branches and twigs of the Jatropha curcas tree can be converted into cellulose.
  80. The branches, once chipped, can be used to produce methane gas.
  81. Jatropha curcas oil sprayed in apple orchards as an organic pesticide gets rid of fruit flies.
  82. This tree can be planted in the vast marginal and infertile areas of Colombia’s llanos orientales (eastern plains), in over 90% of Brazil, and in large areas of Argentina, without affecting food production or other species of trees and plants. The plantations of Amazonia Reforestation are located in the llanos orientales of Colombia.
  83. Jatropha curcas thrives in hot climates, yet requires little humidity.
  84. This tree’s sap has been used as a remedy for cuts and injuries.
  85. It is considered a heliophile tree, in other words it can withstand large amounts of sunlight and does not require shade.
  86. Jatropha curcas is not an invasive species, and can easily be controlled.
  87. Diesel from non-renewable petroleum is more expensive than Jatropha curcas oil.
  88. This tree can be an important element in any renewable energy project, and has proven energy potential and uses.
  89. Some have suggested that Jatropha curcas could be the real herald of the agro-energy movement.
  90. Jatropha curcas can grow along side of Pejibaye or Chantaduro Palms (Bactris gasipaes), an important food source in Latin America.
  91. Jatropha curcas does well along side of the American Oil Palm or Palmera Real (Attalea butyracea), traditionally very important as a source of roofing and construction materials in Latin America.
  92. The Jussara Palm (Euterpe edulis) can grow along side of Jatropha curcas without problems. This palm is important for its fruits and for its heart of palm, a popular food in Latin America.
  93. Jatropha curcas can grow along side of dairy operations, as milk cows will leave the tree alone.
  94. Jatropha curcas can be grown as a garden plant close to homes, where it also has an insect repellent effect.
  95. A single worker or farmer can manage 15 hectares (37 acres) of Jatropha curcas.
  96. Planting Jatropha curcas requires only a small investment in seeds and fertilizer.
  97. In Brazil, Jatropha curcas is cultivated along side of the Acai Palm (Euterpe oleracea), famous for its berries.
  98. Despite its short size, the tree is considered by some to be proud and elegant, adding aesthetic value when planted.
  99. Jatropha curcas is a non-food bio-diesel crop, so it does not take food crops away from people.
  100. Oil can be extracted from Jatropha curcas seeds using simple, hand operated equipment compatible with socio-economic development goals in poor countries.
  101. Air New Zealand flew a successful test flight with a Boeing 747 running one of its four Rolls-Royce engines on a 50/50 blend of Jatropha curcas oil and jet fuel. Houston based Continental Airlines and Japan Air have also run successful tests, so besides bio-diesel this tree has an aviation future.