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.