While on a trip to Nicaragua we were able to see a new form of agriculture. Farmers are taking ground that may not be prosperous farm land and turning it into carbon bond agriculture.
For the first three years farmers are given a sum of money received from carbon bonds based on the growth of the trees and their ability to offset CO2. This is measured and noted by use of specialized cameras and journals of each and every tree on every plot. Trees are nurtured, pruned, and harvested based on maturity allowing for the farmers to have a marketable item while using or selling trimmings. The fourth year is the first harvest of the Matero Negro tree; and no carbon bond is given, but bonds are paid on years five, seven and ten to help offset the cost of replanting and ensuring that the farmer continues to see value in the perpetual forest in post-harvest years.
During the early years when the trees are still small and thin, farmers can inter plant with rows of corn or sorghum which does not interfere with the tree growth, but when genisaro or gliricidia are planted the inter planted crops will gain the benefit of nitrogenated soil thanks to the soil enriching properties of the trees themselves. In some cases, these plants are being looked at as shade and cover plants for
co-planting in coffee plantations. The trees providing shade and nutrients to the coffee plants while also offering the farmers a secondary crop of wood.
Tree health and growth are tracked via GPS, and recorded by a two-person team and now the use of a 360° camera. The data allows for the correct equations of carbon offset, plant health, and actual plot size/ usage.
For more information on this project, check out: