There is a network of tree nurseries and over-sustainable forestry operations that are reforesting vast swaths of Central America. It is a huge success story. One example of this profitable process is Finca Leola, with reforesting operations in the northern highlands of Costa Rica.
|The tropical highlands of Costa Rica|
Finca Leola’s principle of business is simple and powerful in its regenerative impact – that by underharvesting a newly planted forest of cash timber, the overall forest mass increases faster, allowing larger underharvests. Perpetual and growing profit.
Such an alternative economic model is all the more important in this day of allowing anything – including rampant tropical deforestation – in the name of growing biofuel to reduce CO2 emissions. We need to reforest the tropics at least as much as curtail anthropogenic CO2.
What if global warming were the result of changes in land use, and increased CO2 is a result of a hotter earth? Over 20% of the earth’s surface, in agricultural basins and plateaus from California’s Central Valley to Africa’s Sahel, has now seen its water table lower dramatically, often by an order of magnitude or more, due to mechanized pumps and deep wells. Ten million square miles of overheated earth due to depleted water tables could be countered by massive infrastructure projects to desalinate seawater and pump it via pipeline back into these aquafirs.
What if global warming and climate change is because over 10% of the earth’s surface, nearly two-thirds of our original tropical rainforests, no longer exist? For over 100 years, tropical forests have been decimated via logging, more recently they are being finished off thanks to lucrative biofuel prices, with perhaps no end in sight. Without forest transpiration, especially near the coasts, the regular monsoon circulation is collapsed, causing more droughts and extreme storms, and these deforested lands are now – equatorial with formerly perennial transpiration – heat islands on a continental scale.
Someday the earth might warm too much, and wouldn’t it be a huge missed opportunity, if we didn’t put forested mountain bike trails atop good-sized urban highrise condominiums, to mitigate the land-based heat island effect, when such measures, not CO2 hysteria, would keep earth cool?