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Costa Rica Agroforestry Project

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Costa Rica Agroforestry Project

  1. 1. Costa Rica Agroforestry Project Food, fuel and income to sustain local communities
  2. 2. Our Vision “We are trying to design an Earth-healing economic landscape with short and mid- term economic value. This will be followed by a slower maturing, long- term forest that will eventually be capable of supporting an economy decades and even centuries into the future.” -John Todd
  3. 3. Land History • Located in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica • Once covered in thick, lush forest • 50 years ago the land was deforested for cattle production • Changes resulted in soil erosion, displacement of native species, and a hotter, drier landscape • The land became exhausted, showed diminished microbial activity, low atmospheric carbon sequestration, and produced little cattle Deforested cattle land
  4. 4. Remineralization Overview Remineralization can potentially enhance the growth of tree and agricultural crops as much as 2 to 4 times in places where there are local sources of mineral fines readily available. Remineralization is based on an economics of abundance, and promotes healthier nutrient dense foods, local food and economic Remineralized Jatropha produces a higher yield security, based on a sustainable of oil-bearing seeds community model. Basalt rock dust used for remineralization
  5. 5. Agroforestry Project in Costa Rica Partners • Project sponsored by RTE • Designed by John Todd of OAI, with project manager William Turley • Models ecologically sustainable production • Bioremediates land damaged by development
  6. 6. John Todd Buckminster Fuller Institute with RTE’s Greg Watson and John Todd in the middle (Greg left; John right) • Internationally recognized biologist and visionary leader in ecological design • Named “Hero of the Planet” by Time magazine • Teaches Ecological Design at University of Vermont • Inventor of Living Machines for the treatment of wastes, production of foods, generation of fuels and restoration of damaged aquatic environments • Winner of the $100,000 Buckminster Fuller Award for a design to recover Appalachia
  7. 7. John Todd on the Costa Rica Agroforestry Project • First off, I believe that remineralization is the basis of restoring soil fertility. • Secondly, that Costa Rica’s volcanic rock ground up has enormous potential. • Thirdly, that we have to increase organic matter in the soils and add clay-based humic materials to finish off the mix.
  8. 8. Project Goals • To demonstrate ecologically sustainable production of food, fuel and income Volcanic Rock Dust • To demonstrate the potential and evaluate the effectiveness of soil remineralization using finely ground rock dust to create fertile soils in climates with pronounced wet and dry seasons • To study the accumulation and long-term storage of organic carbon in forest soils
  9. 9. Research Procedure • 2 test plots encompassing 2 hectares (5 acres) • One hectare did not receive rock dust (control plot) • One hectare did receive rock dust (experimental plot) Jatropha seedlings in new plot • Trees in both plots were given compost and aged cow manure at time of planting • Trees in both plots were not irrigated during dry season unless under severe stress
  10. 10. Testing Protocol • Comparing the growth and health of trees and shrubs planted with and without rock powders • Local volcanic basalt rock dust containing natural minerals and trace elements were applied to nourish native species • Quantity applied: 340 kg/hectare (750 lbs/hectare) distributed annually for 5 years • The next planting preparation mix consisted of +/- 6 lbs of rock dust per Chile Dulce sprouts tree, which at 1,000 trees/acre (2 meter with and without rock dust spacing) equals 3 tons/acre (amount recommended by Joanna Campe of RTE)
  11. 11. Reforestation • Approximately 1,600 trees/hectare were planted with 2.5 meter spacing between each specimen • Three different groups of trees were planted: 1. Native hardwoods of commercial value 2. Fruit trees for local consumption 3. Oil-producing trees for biofuel use (Jatropha) Jatropha cuttings
  12. 12. Trees Planted in 2008 • Tree Species Planted in February                      Spanish Name        English Name          Latin Name                      Aguacate                        Avocado                        Persea americana                      Cedro Amargo               Spanish Cedar               Cedrela odorata                      Cenizaro                        Rain Tree                      Albizia samam                      Espavel                          Wild Cashew                  Anacardium excelsum                      Guanabana                     Soursop                        Annona muricata                      Guayaba                         Guava                           Psidium guajava                      Jacote                             Spanish Plum                Spandius purpurea                      Jatropha                         Jatropha                       Jatropha curcas                      Limon                            Lemon/Lime                 Citrus spp                      Madero Negro               Quick Stick Tree            Gliricidia sepium                      Malinga                          Horseradish Tree          Moringa oleifera                      Malinche                        Flamboyant Tree           Delanix regia                      Mango                           Mango                          Mangifera indica                      Nance                            Shoemaker’s Tree         Byrsonima crassifolia                      Naranja                          Orange                         Citrus aurantium                      Nispero                          Chicle                          Manilkara chicle                      Noni                              Indian Mulberry           Morinda citrifolia                      Papaya                           Papaya                         Carica papaya                      Pomelo                          Grapefruit                    Citrus x paradisi                      Suncoya                         Suncoya                        Annona purpurea                         Zapote                           Sapote                          Pouteria sapota                     We have also planted the giant bamboo from Indonesia and Guadua                     from Brazil. Cedro Amargo seedlings
  13. 13. Native Hardwoods • Contribute material for commercial products to help sustain the regional economy • Slow growing; benefits in decades to come • Ecological restoration of native forest species • Candidate species included: Guanacaste tree, Cocobol, Ron Ron, Cedro Amargo Guapinol, Cenizara, Cortez Amarillo, and the Ceiba tree.
  14. 14. Agriculture Food Producing Trees • Agricultural component fulfilled by planting fruit and nut trees for local consumption • Quicker benefits through planting of: avocado, wild cashew, guava, Spanish plum, lemon, lime, mango, orange, papaya, and grapefruit Avocado trees
  15. 15. Producing food Two-year old papaya... Wild cashew (Anacardium excelsum) seedling
  16. 16. Jatropha Promising Sustainable Biofuel • The Jatropha, a small tree well known for its oil production and its soil building properties • Yields around 1,590 kg/hectare/year (3,500 lbs/ha/yr) of oil highly suitable as a biodiesel fuel, to be used as a local source of energy • This particular species promises to be cutting-edge in its ability to both produce fuel and enhance soil fertility, distinguishing it from other commonly used sources of biofuel which are highly unsustainable Jatropha seeds and hulls
  17. 17. Growth Stages Jatropha buds... ...and blossoms
  18. 18. Jatropha Seed Pods Project manager William Turley showing off bounty of Jatropha Seeds
  19. 19. A Biodiesel Fuel that Builds Soils and Sequesters Carbon • It will be innovative and promising to show that a biodiesel fuel can be produced that simultaneously builds soils and sequesters carbon • We look forward to demonstrating the potential to rebuild and regenerate soils and produce energy and food at the same time. • This would be a breakthrough development that could lead to larger scale sustainable practices in the future. • This will shift us into environmentally successful and responsible policies, good news for Lester Brown of the Worldwatch Institute as well as peak oil experts such as Richard Heinberg. The remineralized group also exhibited a larger root mass and greater leaf density
  20. 20. Increased Growth of Jatropha • Jatropha trees receiving the rock dust produced larger and more abundant seeds and grew more vigorously than their counterparts in the control plot Jatropha capsules
  21. 21. Seedling growth comparison Jatropha seedlings treated with rock minerals Jatropha seedlings not treated with rock minerals
  22. 22. After 6 Months Control without rock dust Remineralized
  23. 23. Jatropha Growth After 1 Year Project manager William Turley with remineralized jatropha
  24. 24. Full-sized Jatropha bush
  25. 25. Ecosystem Health and more... Mushroom from the tree planting zone Gringo the goat occasional field assistant
  26. 26. The benefits of replicating sustainably intercropped Jatropha in Cameroon and Africa • Replace firewood harvesting • Reduce importation of expensive kerosene in rural areas • Provide sustainable livelihoods in areas now severely damaged by drought, desertification and hunger • Restore exhausted soils which fuel climate change into agricultural food production in just a few years • Create an economic model based on community self-reliance
  27. 27. An Economics of Abundance Rocks are the most abundant resource on earth. We can move from an economics based on scarcity using fossil fuels to an economics of abundance through remineralization. Remineralization and local food systems are a key strategy to transition us to a low energy based economy. Low energy input + nutrient dense = sustainability and healthy food for all!

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