Environmental Quality Protection, Beautification

Reforest the Tropics

Reforest The Tropics

Mission

Our mission is to fight climate change, increase biodiversity, and improve the lives of local populations through sustainable reforestation projects.

Ruling year info

1996

Executive Director

Greg Powell

Main address

28G COTTRELL ST

MYSTIC, CT 06355 USA

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EIN

06-1449475

Cause area (NTEE code) info

Forest Conservation (C36)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Reforest The Tropics works to mitigate climate change through sustainable forestry and long-term, verifiable carbon sequestration. We have developed a comprehensive and holistic forestry model to offset CO2 emissions by converting deforested tropical lands to biologically and economically sustainable new farm forests. Our forests fix and sequester CO2 each year for long-term storage. Forest sponsors can claim the CO2 that is sequestered in our forests to offset the emissions generated by their business or family activities. We have over 50 years of research experience in tropical forestry plantations and partnering with local farmers. The association between global warming and CO2 emissions is well established, as are the global socio-economic and ecological risks tied to climate change. It is also clear from countless studies and numerous policy recommendations that forestry must play a role in the climate change mitigation prescription.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Tropical Reforestation for Carbon Sequestration

The RTT forestry model delivers new, biologically and economically sustainable, tropical forests on land that was previously degraded cattle pasture or failed farmland. We believe in a market-based approach to address the issue of climate change. By making the project financially competitive with alternative land use activities AND by designing the forest to be regenerative, the likelihood that the forest will be standing in 100 years is far more favorable than other reforestation models.

Population(s) Served
Farmers
General/Unspecified

Program Purposes • To educate student leaders on solutions to the climate crisis • To train teachers in implementing a climate crisis lesson sequence • To further the mission of Reforest the Tropics® through education

Population(s) Served
K-12 (5-19 years)

Where we work

Accreditations

Received official 3rd-Party Verification of the carbon it captures and stores from EARTH University. 2017

Awards

“Merit Award for Environmental Champions” 1999

Environmental Protection Agency (Co-Recipient with Superior Nut Company)

“GreenCircle Sustainability Award” 2004

Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection

“Community MVP” 2008

Mohegan Sun award to “recognize those who have made an overwhelming impact on the lives of others.”

“Organization of The Year” 2012

Connecticut Outdoor Environmental Education Association

“Project Gigaton” 2017

Walmart (Co-Recipiant with Superior Nut Company)

Affiliations & memberships

Accepted by United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – Activities Implemented Jointly. 1996

Program approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. 1997

Approved by the Ministry of the Environment and Energy (MINAE) government of Costa Rica 1997

Certificate of Involvement from UN Environment Programme (UNEP) for “Billion Tree Campaign” 2007

Gloucester Meetinghouse Foundation and the “TownGreen/2025” initiative to provide carbon offsets 2015

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of carbon emissions prevented (estimated by CO2 equivalent)

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Tropical Reforestation for Carbon Sequestration

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Through 2019, RTT and our sponsors have sequestered a total of 42,219 MT of CO2e.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Charting impact

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

The RTT forestry model delivers new, biologically and economically sustainable, tropical forests on land that was previously degraded cattle pasture or failed farmland. The goals of the RTT forestry model are: - to provide verified carbon credits for forest sponsors to offset their CO2 emissions, - to provide income to tropical land owners to replace ranch or farm income, - to create sustainable, biologically diverse tropical forests on degraded land, - to be a part of the solution to global climate change. We believe in a market-based approach to address the issue of climate change. By making the project financially competitive with alternative land use activities AND by designing the forest to be regenerative, the likelihood that the forest will be standing in 100 years is far more favorable than other reforestation models.

RTT's mixed-species forest model delivers outstanding rates of carbon sequestration. Forest Design Our Director of Research, Dr. Herster Barres, has dedicated over 50 years to research in tropical forestry. Through these decades of research, Dr. Barres has designed a forestry model which is able to sequester an impressive amount of carbon WHILE ALSO allowing landowners to benefit economically from the sale of timber from necessary forest thinnings. Allowing the landowner to profit encourages him/her to keep the land forested, as opposed to cutting it down for an alternative land-use activity. Sustainability Our model is not simply a “plant a tree” program, rather it is a scientific approach to develop a biologically and economically sustainable ecosystem that can remain as forest perpetually. By making the project financially competitive with alternative land use activities AND by designing the forest to be regenerative, the likelihood that the forest will be standing in 100 years is far more favorable than other reforestation models. Risk Mitigation Tree species are susceptible to disease and insects. Our model mitigates this risk by using a mixed-species model. Tree species have been wiped out in certain areas throughout the world when a malady finds its niche. Not only does a mixed-species model reduce the hazard of inviting disease through species overcrowding, but it also reduces the risk of catastrophic loss if a disease does manage to take hold of a forest stand. Also, the mixed species model allows for biodiversity and habitat creation for local fauna. Carbon Extraction A potential donor may look towards purchasing carbon RECs or engage in emissions reduction efforts to balance their carbon output. At RTT, we applaud any effort to go green, however we also recognize the need to pull carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. There are three methods to extract CO2 from the atmosphere: fertilizing the oceans, a risky method that will exacerbate the problem of an already too acidic ocean; smokestack “scrubbers,” which are estimated to remove and store CO2 for a price of approximately $200 per metric ton (The Economist; Mar. 5, 2009); and reforestation; which under the RTT model is safe, sustainable and far more cost effective. The carbon that is captured in the new forest is credited to the donor for the duration of the 25-year contract period. This contract can be renewed indefinitely. RTT data indicates that a forest sponsor can expect approximately 20 metric tons of carbon to be sequestered each year, for a total of 500 MT of carbon over 25 years. The sponsor may achieve a higher rate of production in the forest. Carbon can be used for one’s personal goals of environmental stewardship or can be used as a powerful marketing tool for any business.

Reforest The Tropics has over 50 years of history, research, and relationships in Costa Rica. We are an applied research program developing and demonstrating a model for sustainable carbon sequestration in tropical forests. An important part of our project involves sharing information we have gathered, so that others may learn from and build upon our efforts We recognize the social and economic needs of tropical landowners and have thus developed a model that seeks to transform forestry from a long-term, low-rent proposition, to a land-use activity that is able to compete with, and even outperform the value of a corresponding hectare of cattle pasture over the short-term. We want the landowner to be satisfied with the decision to convert pasture to forest. Accordingly, we must treat the farmer fairly. Otherwise, the landowner will simply cut down the forest for a land-use activity that generates more profits. We accomplish the fair treatment of farmers in a number of ways, including; the design of the forest; payments to the farmer to establish the forest and for the carbon dioxide that is captured; the contractual relationship; and the interpersonal relationship.

Progress indicators for Reforest The Tropics are: - the number of hectares planted with our mixed species forestry model, - the amount of carbon sequestered in our forests, - and the number of forest sponsors engaged in our work. Verification The forests are subject to weekly monitoring and management and are measured annually. Measurements are audited by an independent forestry consultant, who issues a letter that supports the validity of the program. Ninety hectares (223 acres) of RTT forests have received third party verification under ISO standards to certify the carbon it has captured on the Las Delicias farm near Pocora, Costa Rica. This process revealed that RTT forests are capturing and storing more than 25 metric tonnes CO2e per hectare per year and have helped prove the RTT concept. New RTT forests, however do not automatically include verification or issue carbon credits for trade in international markets. Forest sponsors may elect to pay for third party verification and participate in carbon markets should they desire.

Through 2018, Reforest The Tropics has: - planted over 700 hectares with our mixed species forestry model in Costa Rica, - sequestered over 39,000 MT CO2e in our forests, - engaged over 50 unique sponsors in our work. In 2019, RTT secured out biggest contract yet to plant 100 hectares of mixed-species forest to offset emissions from a New England biotech firm.

Financials

Reforest the Tropics
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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This organization has no recorded board members.

Keywords

Carbon sequestration, environmental education