Costa Rican coffee farmers planted 13,000 free trees this week as part of World Tree’s initiative to tackle climate change. Our Empress Splendor trees provide much-needed shade for their organically grown coffee and a new revenue stream for the farmers.
Wendy Burton, World Trees CEO and founder flew to Costa Rica to visit the farmers and help them get started with the tree planting.
World Tree chose the Empress Splendor for planting because it is the fastest growing tree in the world. Within just 6 months, the trees will grow 10 feet or more providing critical protection for the coffee plants which need shade for optimal growth.
Relief for struggling farmers
The main export from Costa Rica is coffee. “Farmers are struggling because coffee prices are low,” explains Wendy. “Because our trees grow so fast they can be harvested for lumber within 10 years, providing them with a second revenue stream as well as shade for their coffee.”
Shade-grown coffee plants are twice as productive as sun-grown and therefore consistently yield higher prices for their higher quality beans. The Empress trees not only protect the coffee. Their deep root systems brings nutrients and water to the surface of the soil to feed the coffee plants.
“I’ve heard that Empress Splendor has many benefits for the environment and for us as coffee growers,” says Mauro Solis, a farmer participating in the program. “The carbon capture is important for our sustainability, and we are also very happy to get the benefit of extra income in 10 years.”
Supported by carbon offsetters
The project is backed by World Tree investors who want to offset their carbon footprint. The exceptional growth rate and large leaves of the trees makes them carbon sponges. As a result Empress trees absorb 11 times more carbon than any other tree.
In ten years, the trees will be harvested for their lumber, bringing economic benefits to the farmers and the investors.
Our second season in Costa Rica
This is World Tree’s second season of planting in Costa Rica and so far we have been very impressed with the results. The coffee farmers have embraced the program, which has received the support of Juan Luis Chaves, the major of Naranjo. Naranjo is one of the most important coffee growing regions in Costa Rica. They have also been planted by Coopedota, known by coffee lovers worldwide for their Dota coffee.
“I am happy to think not only about the benefit that I can experience here on my farm, but also the bigger benefit, the change that we can do for the world,” remarks Mauro.
We are very happy too, Mauro! A big thank you to all our Costa Rican farmers – we look forward to growing benefits for everyone in the years to come.