Money Trees

The 39th issue of Developments magazine looks at India from various significant angles. What caught my attention though is its feature on how farmers, a paper mill, and the environment all benefit from small-scale eucalyptus plantations. It is undeniably an innovative natural resource management practice wherein marginal farmers are assisted by a paper mill in securing agricultural loan and in planting eucalyptus in otherwise uncultivated land parcels. The paper mill also commits to buy the timber upon harvesting after only four years from planting.

The twist comes in as a non-governmental organization assesses the carbon value of each plantation and pays the farmers additional amounts of up to 20% of the timber price. The World Bank, in turn, buys the carbon values from the NGO which are then sold as carbon credits to the world market. (Note: The concept of carbon credits is a product of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol aimed at industries generating greenhouse gases to pay for the neutralization of their emissions by CO2-absorbing products.)

Now that global warming is becoming a serious threat to the existence of human life, I hope more countries will soon adopt collaborative strategies like this. Our efforts to ensure our survival through changing times will never be complete without ensuring the survival of our planet itself.

The documentary The 11th Hour produced and narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio shows us how we are directly responsible for the Earth’s fate. For us to have a sustainable future, we must all be on the frontline of reconstructive environmental priorities. Sustainable forests sources of paper are a good start.

[Developments magazine was published by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development]

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