Oct 2, 2017

Amazon restoration ramps up on Thursday

Dear friends,

You know the statistics: every day a staggering amount of forest is lost. But you can do something about it. This Thursday, plant a tree with us in the Peruvian Amazon. Why Thursday? Because it's GlobalGiving's Bonus Day, when your donation will count for more thanks to GG's matching funds. Save the date!  (You can donate here.)

We are grateful for your support of Camino Verde’s work.  For many organizations, this season represents a slump in donor giving, meaning some tough decisions when it comes to budget.  Please consider making a donation on Thursday, when it will count even more. 

And now on to our report from the field…

The seedlings are strong and tall, and I can see satisfied faces and eager hands moving carefully to place these future giants into crates for transport.  Today it’s ten species that are moving out – ten kinds of native trees of the Amazon that are as useful as they are endangered.  A few are prized for their timber, and therefore under pressure from constant culling in the wild forest.  Some are valued for their fruits.  Others are medicinal.  A couple of amazing trees are used for all of these things. 

These trees were born and raised in Camino Verde’s forestry nursery at La Joya, Madre de Dios, Peru.  A nursery that produces over 100 species of trees a year, it is remarkable for its diversity and for its steady output – less than two years after the nursery’s founding over 25,000 seedlings a year will find a home in future forests, replacing areas that were clearcut for agriculture, for ranching, or even for gold mining.

The heroes of our story, the trees leaving the nursery today will intervene in the regreening of one of the Amazon’s most acute wounds.  Illegal and legal gold mining alike have radically altered the uninterrupted canopy of Madre de Dios, a region often considered to be the most significant area of intact tropical forest left in the world.  

The threat of mining is unlike agriculture in that the devastation is much more permanent.  Whereas a farm that goes fallow after harvest will grow back quickly in a tangle of secondary forest locally called purma, the degradation of forest landscapes wrought by mining goes deep into the subsoil. Trees are cleared, soils are dredged up and returned in a contaminated form, now carrying diesel fuel and heavy metals, especially mercury.  The resulting moonscape is inhospitable to all but the hardiest of organisms, whether microbe or plant.  

So there’s something else that’s extraordinary about the seedlings leaving the nursery today.  They can grow where others cannot. They can work their roots into sterile and polluted soils, even into the gravel piles left behind by dredgers and pumps.  These trees are expert regenerators; in addition to their other uses and benefits, they will bring back life-giving organic matter in the form of leaf litter and make the soil livable again for a variety of organisms, including the region’s astonishing diversity of birds, amphibians, insects, and mammals.

It’s a process that calls to mind the establishment of life on our planet. Before there was an oxygen-rich atmosphere enveloping the Earth, plants were working to make a stark landscape congenial to life.  In addition to generating the oxygen we now breathe, long ago plants were enacting the conditions necessary for animals of all kinds.  In the Amazon of Peru, we get to watch this process unfold once more.

It inspires optimism. The Earth can regroup, recover, regenerate. Especially if we lend it helping hand. We know the Amazon can be restored – even in our lifetime.  The protagonists of this heroic process, trees are silent and seemingly immobile, yet we ignore their power at our own peril.  With allies like these, capable of transforming desolation into exuberance, we stand a real chance at bringing our forests, and our planet, back from the brink. 

Doing it better means doing it together.  Your enthusiasm for this work is what literally sustains us and allows us to continue with the labor of love of reforesting the Amazon.  Thank you for your generosity in contributing – it means more trees planted, more hope seeded, a better chance for the rainforest and the people who rely on it.  

Please donate this Thursday.  (You can do so here.)  Tell a friend – we’re stronger together. 

Before signing off, I’d like to extend a special thanks to CINCIA, a research group from Wake Forest University who are our key strategic partners in bringing more trees to mined areas.  They also provided us with the beautiful drone image you see at the top of this message.  

All the very best from the Peruvian Amazon,

loading up seedlings from the La Joya nursery
loading up seedlings from the La Joya nursery
tree seedlings heading out from the nursery
tree seedlings heading out from the nursery
Jul 11, 2017

Turn a dollar into a buck fifty - Tomorrow!

Ok, we know that you just heard from us. But tomorrow is a matching funds bonus day on GlobalGiving, meaning that when you donate tomorrow we’ll get a buck fifty for every dollar you donate.  

We thought you might like to know.  You can donate at this link tomorrow, Wednesday, starting at 9:00 am EST for the 50% match. 

Why contribute? Well let me tell you a little bit about what it is we do. 

What is your mission? What does that mean?

For Camino Verde, our mission is to make sure that future generations get to enjoy the Amazon rainforest.  

Underlying that mission is a vision of what’s possible. It’s a vision of human beings and other biological communities operating in mutually supportive cohesion. It’s a vision that says that what’s good for nature is also good for us. It’s a vision that many of us have seen and felt palpably – in the agro-forestry gardens of native communities, in the wild-like mosaics of traditional crop arrays, in the cooling shade of trees you planted yourself, the undeniable gauge of any successful ecological restoration effort.  

This vision stands in stark contrast with another vision – of the forest as little more than a mine.  Of rainforest destruction as an inevitable pathway of economic development, of a forest’s benefit measured in dollars and without sense.  This is what we call the problem.  Can you tell that our mission grapples with this problem directly? 

For the Amazon to persist into our grandchildren’s twilight years, many things must happen.  We get to talking about strategy.  Our strategy is to reach out to farmers whose land is the green frontier of rainforest deforestation.  People trying to make a living – that is the the most prevalent battleground for conservation and destruction of the world’s forests.

We connect with farmers and plant trees together. We halt the advance of deforestation and we help bring permanent, economically productive, ecologically restorative agro-forestry systems to fruition, literally.  We let trees do what trees do best – provide for people.

We practice regeneration, and regeneration means: to reap the abundant benefits from giving nature just a little push in the direction it wants to go anyway.  

That all sounds good, but what’s your story? 

Not long ago we loaded a boat with plants and our whole team and visited a neighbor who had approached Camino Verde about implementing a reforestation area on his farm. More than a year after our initial conversation, Fredy Ortega had planted a hectare on his land, and a varied and significant planting it was. 

Side by side went in the rows of dozens of superfood crop trees such as açaí and cacao.  Large timber trees including balsam of Peru and Camphor Moena were interplanted with vitamin C-rich camu camu and nitrogen fixing legumes.  Working in concert, these trees possess the anatomy and physiology of a forest not unlike the wild, primary forest found just a stone’s throw away from Fredy’s farm. 

The seedlings that went in came from somewhere – from Camino Verde's two forestry nurseries in Madre de Dios. And one of those nurseries is currently provisioned with biochar thanks to our brand new Adam Retort charcoal oven. If this sounds like some strange foreign language, I invite you to read our past project reports to find out more. 

This is what we do. We can do it thanks to you.  Help us make tomorrow’s Bonus Day on GlobalGiving our best ever. You can donate at this link tomorrow, Wednesday, starting at 9:00 am EST.

All the best from the Amazon of Peru,

Jul 11, 2017

Tomorrow is Matching Bonus Day!

Chihuahuaco seedlings ready to be planted out
Chihuahuaco seedlings ready to be planted out

Ok, we know that you just heard from us. But tomorrow is a matching funds bonus day on GlobalGiving, meaning that when you donate tomorrow we’ll get a buck fifty for every dollar you donate.  

We thought you might like to know.  You can donate at this link tomorrow, Wednesday, starting at 9:00 am EST for the 50% match. 

Why contribute? Well let me tell you a little bit about what it is we do. 

What is your mission? What does that mean?

For Camino Verde, our mission is to make sure that future generations get to enjoy the Amazon rainforest.  

Underlying that mission is a vision of what’s possible. It’s a vision of human beings and other biological communities operating in mutually supportive cohesion. It’s a vision that says that what’s good for nature is also good for us. It’s a vision that many of us have seen and felt palpably – in the agro-forestry gardens of native communities, in the wild-like mosaics of traditional crop arrays, in the cooling shade of trees you planted yourself, the undeniable gauge of any successful ecological restoration effort.  

This vision stands in stark contrast with another vision – of the forest as little more than a mine.  Of rainforest destruction as an inevitable pathway of economic development, of a forest’s benefit measured in dollars and without sense.  This is what we call the problem.  Can you tell that our mission grapples with this problem directly? 

For the Amazon to persist into our grandchildren’s twilight years, many things must happen.  We get to talking about strategy.  Our strategy is to reach out to farmers whose land is the green frontier of rainforest deforestation.  People trying to make a living – that is the the most prevalent battleground for conservation and destruction of the world’s forests. 

We connect with farmers and plant trees together. We halt the advance of deforestation and we help bring permanent, economically productive, ecologically restorative agro-forestry systems to fruition, literally.  We let trees do what trees do best – provide for people.

We practice regeneration, and regeneration means: to reap the abundant benefits from giving nature just a little push in the direction it wants to go anyway.  

That all sounds good, but what’s your story? 

Not long ago we loaded a boat with plants and our whole team and visited a neighbor who had approached Camino Verde about implementing a reforestation area on his farm. More than a year after our initial conversation, Fredy Ortega had planted a hectare on his land, and a varied and significant planting it was. 

Side by side went in the rows of dozens of superfood crop trees such as açaí and cacao.  Large timber trees including balsam of Peru and Camphor Moena were interplanted with vitamin C-rich camu camu and nitrogen fixing legumes.  Working in concert, these trees possess the anatomy and physiology of a forest not unlike the wild, primary forest found just a stone’s throw away from Fredy’s farm. 

This is what we do. We can do it thanks to you.  Help us make tomorrow’s Bonus Day on GlobalGiving our best ever. You can donate at this link tomorrow, Wednesday, starting at 9:00 am EST.

All the best from the Amazon of Peru,

Robin

 
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