Camino Verde

Camino Verde is a 501-c-3 non-profit organization dedicated to: * Protecting and understanding biodiversity in the Peruvian Amazon. * Protecting indigenous rights, autonomy, and wisdom. * Spreading sustainable ways of life and encouraging fair, sustainable development. Our mission is to plant trees and encourage others to do the same.
Oct 20, 2015

Bamboo and Bio-Char

Yellow bamboo
Yellow bamboo

Bamboo is a grass that can grow 50 meters tall.  It's the source of fibers used to make paper and clothing, and a sturdy "timber" familiar in the tropics and increasingly throughout the world.  

And it's fast.  Many species of bamboo grow faster than trees.  And many species sequester more carbon dioxide than trees, a fact that has made bamboo attractive for possible carbon capture credit systems.

It works like this: the growing plant takes in CO2 as part of photosynthesis, incorporating much of that carbon into its body as biomass.  For as long as the plant resists decomposition, this carbon is captured, sequestered, sunk.  If the thing rots, much of the carbon offgases as CO2 and methane. So for bamboo to be effective as a carbon capture system, the bamboo must be preserved, as is the case with bamboo-as-timber in construction.     

The other way you can lock the carbon in is by making bamboo charcoal.

Counter-intuitive as it appears at first glance, charring bamboo is in fact pyrolysis instead of combustion and releases few emissions.  And the carbon captured in charcoal exists in a much more stable form -- charcoal can last for hundreds or even thousands of years without re-releasing its carbon.

Bamboo charcoal is like pulling carbon out of the atmosphere by some magic trick and placing it in stable organic canisters that can safely be buried -- and in fact provide great benefits in the soil.  

Our bamboo plantings are over a year old now but still need more time before they can start yielding sustainable harvests.  Thanks to your support, we're approaching the execution phase in which we'll demonstrate bamboo bio-char's value and begin to share it.

Thanks so much for your interest and support!

Nurseries for the future
Nurseries for the future
Oct 15, 2015

The blossoming of Amazonian spring

A newborn tree seedling from our nursery in Peru.
A newborn tree seedling from our nursery in Peru.

Dear Friends,

It’s been six months since our last missive.  This has been a period of tremendous growth and opportunity for Camino Verde, and I’m happy to finally catch my breath and share with you some of what’s been going on with us in the Peruvian Amazon and beyond.  Let’s catch up.

We’re raising the bar on tree planting. Those of you who have kept up on our Missives know that we’ve maintained a pace of planting one or two thousand trees a year at our reforestation center in Tambopata.  Not to mention many others planted with small farmers and native communities elsewhere.  We’ve learned from these experiences, and we’re ready to do more. With our new partner, solar provider Viridian Energy we’ll be planting over 3000 trees in January 2016, in addition to the couple thousand trees we already have lined up for the end of 2015.

…And raised it again.  A generous pledge for 2016 means we’ll be able to hit an amazing first time milestone - 10,000 trees planted in a year! For now, suffice to say that the number of trees isn’t the only awesome thing about next year’s campaign. I can’t wait to share with you more about this incredible opportunity in future missives. A teaser preview? Let’s just say it involves rising to our region’s greatest challenge: planting trees in some of the most degraded areas in all of the Amazon.

10,000 trees celebrating our 10th year of reforestation work in Tambopata!

And, we’re keeping more forest alive.  
I’m proud to announce the creation of the Sherblom Family Forest, an additional 40 acres of primary rainforest that we will protect in perpetuity.  Many thanks to the Sherblom family for helping prevent the deforestation of this virgin area’s incredible trees. We only regret not acting in time to avoid the felling of a 7 foot diameter giant kapok tree, whose destruction may somehow be redeemed as the inspiration for keeping this area wild.

It’s time – sharing our experiences to inspire more reforestation.  The proof is in the pudding. For the first time ever we’re measuring every single one of the thousands of trees planted at our reforestation center.  With over 300 Amazonian species planted, this unique body of knowledge will grow annually along with the trees themselves and provide reliable data to demonstrate the viability of planting trees that nobody is planting.  Biodiversity preservation… in action!  The research is being carried out alongside thesis students from our local university UNAMAD, with participation from respected Lima universities La Agraria and Cayetano Heredia and the Peruvian Amazon Research Institute (IIAP)

More Camino Verde news at a glance (or, There will be bullet points):

•Our consultation branch continues to grow.  Many of you asked, and I’m happy to share that it’s now confirmed that we’ll be back in Uganda before the end of the year, working with our allies at Wild Forests and Fauna and Mon Ma Ryek (Wise Women of Uganda) to establish a tree nursery with capacity to provide an astonishing 100,000 native tree seedlings a year.  (Did I mention we’re raising the bar on tree planting?)  We’re currently seeking partners interested in collaborating with us to develop the carbon offset potential for this work.  Know anyone trying to “buy” a few tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere? Drop us a line.

Did somebody say rosewood? In February 2016 we’ll be back in Brillo Nuevo, the native community that’s home to 500 Brazilian rosewood trees, with the intention of doing our first ever distillation of essential oil from these trees, planted with and cared for by our native Bora allies.  Our search for more rosewood seeds continues— and this year we’ll continue experimentation with vegetative propagation, to help bring back this IUCN Red List endangered species. 

And rosewood’s cousins?  We’re currently distilling several liters a month of essential oil from one of our flagship trees – Moena alcanforada – a close relative of rosewood.  We are the only producers of this essential oil in the world!  Many thanks to our first round partners in demonstrating the oil’s value, from the fragrance alchemy of L’oeil du Vert to the aromatherapy expertise of Wisdom of the Earth and now, Floracopeia.  Securing a market for this oil means we can plant more of these trees.  We’re starting next year with an additional 1000 of them on the farms of two of our longtime farmer allies in Tambopata. A better income from planting trees than from cutting them down— that’s our goal in a nutshell.

GlobalGiving’s Sustainable Development Goals.  In celebration of the launch of the new Sustainable Development Goals at UN Week, GlobalGiving is highlighting three projects working to achieve each new goal. They’re featuring our Carbon Footprints project because we’re one of their highest-ranked partners that’s committed to learning and effectiveness.  This will mean more exposure for our organization to a broader network individual, corporate, and institutional supporters looking for a meaningful way to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals. Find out more here

A growing family.  You may be scratching your head as to how all this growth has come about. The answer is our amazing team.  I can’t tell you how grateful I am to be working with the inspired, inspiring crew that is the la familia de Camino Verde.  And we’re growing, welcoming new staff, interns and allies into our midst.  

Now, I know you’ve heard this before, but the other key member of our team is you. People are often amazed to hear that our number one source of funding is the individual donors who believe in our cause. We truly couldn’t do any of this without your support.

Thank you so much for contributing.  

It’s Amazonian springtime, and the blossoms are outrageous. Kaleidoscopic parrots feast on fiery Erythrina flowers, themselves looking like exotic birds.  The deciduous trees of the rainforest are dropping their leaves or barely budding out once again, adorned with what looks like yellow foam here or purple gauze there, made of thousands of tiny blooming trumpets.  The night is a tapestry of voices and stars.  That’s what I mean when I say, greetings from the Amazon.  Thanks for helping to keep alive this place that I love so much.

Gratefully,

Nurseryman Manuel Huinga
Nurseryman Manuel Huinga
Research maestra Olivia Revilla
Research maestra Olivia Revilla
Piher Maceda, tree whisperer.
Piher Maceda, tree whisperer.
Registering each species in the nursery
Registering each species in the nursery
Jul 13, 2015

A unique opportunity to make your help count extra

Team members at our Tambopata reforestation center
Team members at our Tambopata reforestation center

Dear friends,

I don't usually like to sound the drums for fundraising events-- it's always a little intrusive, and I apologize if I'm committing a similar annoyance now.  What I want to share is a most unique opportunity to make your support of Camino Verde and our Amazonian reforestation work count extra.  This Wednesday, July 15, all donations to Camino Verde through GlobalGiving will be matched! 

The link is right here: 

http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/turning-carbon-footprints-into-healthy-soils/

We've worked with GlobalGiving for 5 years now, and since they call us a Superstar they're offering 50% matching funds for all donations received while matching funds last.  Please consider taking advantage of this rare chance to make your donation count more!  If you give once this year, please make it the morning of July 15.  

Help us become a Frontrunner on GlobalGiving to earn extra visibility and prize funds.

Thanks so much for your support.  Read on to find out more about what we're doing now.  And don't forget to join us on Wednesday, July 15th on GlobalGiving.

Recent News

 1. Biochar in the Amazon -- We're on the threshold of a new chapter for bio-char in the Amazon.  With our bamboo groves happily growing, we're getting ready to gear up pilot bio-char production, showing how this technology can bring benefits to small farmers while sequestering enormous quantities of CO2.  We couldn't do this unique work without you!

2. Camino Verde research team -- For 8 years, Camino Verde has planted trees that no one else has.  And now our unique experiences in Amazonian reforestation will be documented as never before-- with the help of experience scientists and local students.  Starting this year, expect to see Camino Verde in research journals and practical manuals.  Future plans include a rigurous approach to documenting the benefits of bio-char for the Amazon!  

3. The CV/CACE connection -- For those of you have followed our work closely, you know of how we reforested rosewood trees with the good folks of Brillo Nuevo native community and the Center for Amazon Community Ecology (CACE).  Now CACE and CV are working closely together to share some of the unique gifts of deep Amazonia.  CACE's upcoming Amazon Store will pioneer the way for socially-responsible direct trade, funneling profits towards ecologically sustainable best practices that truly align with community goals.  A highfalutin way of saying helping farmers in the Amazon make a living by planting trees.  We're excited to soon offer a few little products of the Camino Verde reforestation at the Amazon Store.  We'll keep you posted. 

4. The CV/Uganda connection -- Many of you asked, and yes, Camino Verde consultation work in Uganda appears to be on track to continue in coming years.  We're grateful to be able to help the effort to plant trees in this remarkable country.  Don't be surprised if you see a Camino Verde / Wise Women of Uganda project up on GlobalGiving soon.

Thanks again for your interest and support.  Kind regards from Tambopata,

Research team members
Research team members
Tambopata frog
Tambopata frog
Blossoms in the rainforest
Blossoms in the rainforest
Cacao drying
Cacao drying
Spilanthes
Spilanthes
 
   

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