Why should I support your organization?
Since the dawn of the industrial age the world’s forest have been dying a slow death to feed the unimpeded growth of technology. North America, Europe and Asia were once covered with deep lush forests. Now they are mostly barren grasslands and hills with a few scattered trees and shrubs. This has resulted in an imbalance in the levels of CO2 and oxygen in our atmosphere. If your goal is to help stop global warming and re-establish the balance of CO2 and oxygen in the atmosphere, both you and the Founders of this organization are in agreement and your donation will be used to further that cause. We are convinced the best way to readjust this balance is to plant trees and help convert excess CO2 in the atmosphere to carbon and oxygen.
If donate my money to your organization, how will it be used?
We have several programs. If you donate to the “plant a tree” program, it will be used to plant a tree. If you donate it to the “sponsor a child” program, it will be used to help stop deforestation and help educate children about carbon neutrality. If you donate to the “General Fund” (on the home page under “make a donation”), the funds will be used at the discretion of the Board of Directors for any number of projects, these may include: research, joint studies with other Foundations, fundraising activities or to cover our administrative expenses.
In each of our programs we have calculated in costs to administer these programs and costs for operations. For example: when we plant a tree, there is more than the cost of a tree. A study must be made of the area in which a tree is to be planted; a decision is made as to what species is best suited to the area etc. All these costs are built into the cost of the plant a tree program. There are also costs to operating the plant a tree program such as keeping track of the number of trees being planted, where they are planted, how many survive over the first, second and third years of the plantation etc. As you can see, there is much more to planting a tree than just a sapling, a shovel and a bit of fertilizer. Through careful planning, we strive to have as high a survival rate as possible in our tree planting programs.
Can I volunteer to help in some way?
Yes. There are ways everyone can help us in spreading the word about Carbon Neutrality. Here are a few ways you can help our organization.
a) If you have a specific skill you believe would be of value to our organization (we often need forest engineers, biologists, web developers, journalists, marketing executives and other skilled persons to help us in our development), please send us an email. We also have a page where we list current needs. Please feel free to browse this and see if your skills fit these needs. If you are physically fit and would like a working holiday in Costa Rica, we encourage you to consider working with ASVO (the Association of Volunteers).They care for the National Park systems here in Costa Rica, supplementing the limited resources of the government. They protect baby sea turtles, help fight forest fires, stop poachers, repair trails and do many other necessary things within the beautiful park systems of Costa Rica. You may visit their web site at: www.asvocr.com We actively support ASVO due to their role as protectors of the old growth forests. They have been instrumental in stopping the illegal poaching of timber in the remote forest areas.
b) If you have a web site and would like to help direct traffic to us, please link to us. Click here for more information about this option link to us.
c) If you become Carbon Neutral, why not add the “I’m Carbon Neutral” logo to your emails with a link to our site? This will let all your friends know what you’ve done and encourage them to start thinking about Carbon Neutrality.
d) If your company has an email newsletter, why not mention our organization? We appreciate a word or two about what we’re doing from any reliable source. The more persons who know about Carbon Neutrality and plant trees or save forested areas, the better off we all are.
e) Does your business send out lots of invoices or printed materials? Why not add the “Carbon Neutrality” logo? You could be responsible for people planting thousands of trees or educating hundreds of children.
Do you do all the planting yourselves?
No. It would be very inefficient (and a poor use of your money) for your Foundation to hire so many employees to do this work. There are a number of organizations in Costa Rica who do reforestation activities and we typically use planting services, while providing the technical expertise to ensure our tree plantations have a high survival rate. Basically we shop for the best quality trees and planters for the best price we can get.
Does the Foundation own the land where the trees are planted?
No. This would also be a lot of money spent on land and very few trees planted if we purchased all the land for reforestation. If someone happens to donate land we are happy to accept it in the name of the Foundation and care for the land as a protected property. However we plant trees in either designated “protected” areas (such as the biological corridor near Monteverde National Park) or on private lands where we have signed an accord with the owner giving us unrestricted access and a guarantee the trees will be allowed to grow unmolested for their full life and will not be cut down for firewood etc., to ensure the carbon remains “locked” in the wood. The land owner also benefits financially from this arrangement provided he cares for the trees and does not cut them down prematurely.
How many trees are typically planted in a reforestation project?
Larger reforestation projects start at 200 hectares (there are 2.47 acres/hectare). Approximately 200,000 saplings are planted (1,000 per hectare average) depending on the specie(s) of tree selected. Blocks of 10, 20 or 50 hectares will be planted in stages. These plantations will be handled by forest engineer/specialists so that they produce wood, fix carbon and release oxygen to the atmosphere.
The forest plantations begin with 1,000 trees per hectare, and little by little we glean slow growing and weak trees until all that are left are those that grow best and will accumulate more carbon in their trunks, branches, foliage and root system.
At the end of the gleaning/production cycle, there are around 200 to 300 trees per hectare, each having a diameter between 35 to 50 cm (approx 14-20 inches) and a height of around 25 to 30 meters (approx 80 - 100 feet). Note: the growth dimensions are simply estimates and will depend on the species of tree selected for planting.
Some trees grow more quickly than others, but all fix carbon and release oxygen to the atmosphere. Each one of these large trees has the capacity to clean up to one ton of CO2 during 20 years of its life. Therefore, each seeded hectare of trees can clean, at least, 200-300 tons of CO2. If the project is 200 hectares, the removed CO2 of the atmosphere will be of 40,000 to 60,000 tons over the life of the project (20 years).
Smaller projects for children’s education or for protected areas may include very small amounts of trees for planting. Also, the age of the tree may vary depending on the application. For example: if we are planting trees to shore up a riverbank, we may elect to use more mature trees that have a better chance of survival and will take root more quickly. In cases where we are planting trees to restore lost animal habitats, we may choose many different species related to what wildlife in that area will require for survival. We often plant wild almond trees to attract the large Scarlet Macaws back to traditional feeding areas where farmers may have illegally cut them down.
What are the costs to establish a plantation of trees?
The investment necessary to establish one hectare of trees is around US$5000 per hectare (or about $5 per tree). This investment covers terrain preparation, the purchase of the saplings and full administration and technical support for the life of the project over 20 years. This investment does not cover the purchase of the land, nor do we purchase lands for such activities. Reforestation projects are carried out on lands made available by farmers that are interested in the conservation of nature and the fixation of carbon to contribute to reduce the problem of contamination and global warming.
What happens to the trees when they are fully grown?
This is where the benefit to the farmer is seen. Part of the incentive the farmer has in helping us care for the wood is his sharing in the profits at the end of the 20 years. The carbon also remains “locked” in the wood. This is a goal of these projects. If it were burned for fuel we would simply be releasing CO2 back into the atmosphere and negating the entire purpose of the planting exercise.
These projects will produce wood that will be sold in the national market to supply the local demand for wood. The woods acceptance into the marketplace and sale price will depend on the value of the particular type of wood species at the time of harvest.
The farmer helps with the harvest and transport of the wood to the mills and covers the costs associated with this part of the process so then he can benefit from the work ha has put into caring for the trees over 20 years.
In the end the farmer is happy; he has made an income from his efforts. The Foundation is happy because trees were planted and CO2 was absorbed, carbon fixed and oxygen released, people benefited and learned about Carbon Neutrality. You should be happy because you had a part in this too just by visiting this web site and learning about Carbon Neutrality.
Can a corporation be a Sponsor?
Yes. Many companies have worked closely with our Foundation assisting us to promote our message in many ways. If your organization would like to join with our Foundation in helping us promote Carbon Neutrality, please contact us. We’ll be glad to consider your proposals or help you define various ways you may be able to help us. Click on the Contact Us link.
Why are you located in Costa Rica?
Put simply, Costa Rica is one of the best places in the world to plant trees. It has an excellent rainy season, superb volcanic soil and trees here grow very fast and very thick. A tree planted here will absorb far more carbon than a tree planted in the US or Europe.
Another reason is: this is an ideal place to begin the reforestation process. The deforested areas of South America cannot be reforested easily. The ground is completely stripped of nutrients due to erosion. Costa Rica can be reforested and the political will and labor is here to do it. Owe plan to continue with Costa Rica as our headquarters and spread our reforestation to neighboring countries such as Nicaragua, Panama and eventually worldwide.