Irrigation pumps are powered by solar PV panels which feed electricity directly to the pump and therefore eliminate the need for batteries. When required, water is pumped to holding tanks or ponds during the day for future use.
"What blows my mind is the scale. I thought [forest] restoration would be in the top 10, but it is overwhelmingly more powerful than all of the other climate change solutions proposed."
Managed Carbon Farms
To accomplish our mission of drawing down atmospheric CO2, we aid investors in the acquisition, conversion and management of carbon farms in the tropics. CFI targets suitable pasture or degraded farmland in Latin American countries for conversion into agroforestry plantations (carbon farms) that grow sustainably sourced CFI certified hardwoods for the building industry. Each plantation may also include organically grown fruit or nut trees to ensure that food production levels from the land's previous use are maintained. Existing riparian and natural forests on farms are preserved and ideally expanded.
By targeting the least productive agricultural land for conversion, CFI ensures that net benefits like increased employment, food production, carbon drawdown and ecosystem restoration are maximized. Pastureland in the tropics is usually very affordably priced, ranging from $3,000 to $5,000 per hectare.
A 500 hectare farm that consists of 70% hardwoods, 20% fruit trees, 10% Protected Forest
Harvest Cycle (YRS)
Lumber Produced (m3)
Food Production (Tonnes)
CFI provides farm acquisition services through its team of realtors, lawyers and agronomists. It starts with finding the client suitable farmland to be converted into a carbon farm. These farms will be at least 100 hectares in size to ensure economies of scale and to maximize net carbon sequestration potential. The attributes of this land will be mainly cleared of trees and be currently used for animal agriculture (pastureland) or degraded farmland.
Specific attributes that CFI will look for include:
- At least 80% cleared land.
- Suitable soil for growing perennials, hardwoods and/or bamboo.
- Access to water or a suitable water table to supply sufficient irrigation needs.
An assessment of the land's existing food production values will be determined to ensure that the farm will maintain food production so as not to put pressure of the world's food supplies - a goal for CFI carbon farms.
Farm Design and Development
CFI will work with the client to find a suitable farm management team and design the farm in accordance with the crops requested by the customer and the needs of the farm management team. The farm management team will then execute the farm plan which includes land preparation, construction of roads, installation of irrigation systems, farm building construction, renewable energy generation infrastructure and grid hookup (where netmetering is available). Seedlings will be purchased and begin their initial growth in the nursery before being relocated and planted on the farm. Appropriate certification (eg: USDA organic, FSC) processes will also commence. CFI will assist the client with additional features that the customer requests such as webcams. Development of a website for the farm (eg. customername.co2.farm) will also be created.
After the farm development has been completed and the trees have been planted, the farm transitions into the management phase. This is where the general day to day operations of a farm take place. Routine inspection of crops, treatment of diseases, application of inputs, machinery and irrigation maintenance occur. Farm reports are sent by the management team to the client regularly as well as updates pushed to the website that includes photos and videos.
Annual Harvests and Sale
Once the farm starts producing food products, the farm moves into the harvest phase. On top of regular farm maintenance, food crops are harvested annually and transported to a facility for sorting, cleaning and packaging. Packaged products are then sent off to local buyers where CFI can assist in pre-negotiating a sale price.
Between Year 8 and 15, one to two thinnings will take place that will provide the space necessary for the remaining hardwoods to continue growing in size. The trees that are thinned have some economic value and will be sold in local markets.
Hardwood Harvest and Replanting
By year 20, the hardwood plantation will be ready for harvest and replanting. Hardwoods will be sold to a local mill and be used to produce doors, hardwood flooring or home construction, thus ensuring that the carbon sequestered in the wood has a long product life. Wood waste from the mill is sold to a local biomass energy facility ensuring environmental benefits are maximized. Hardwood seedlings will be transferred from the nursery and replanted.
How much carbon do we need to sequester?
Even if we stop burning fossil carbon completely, we will still be adding about 27% of our current emissions (14.9 gigatonnes of CO2eq) into the atmosphere each year.Read more
How much land would be needed to drawdown atmospheric CO2?
Experts estimate afforestation of land in the tropics could sequester 25 tonnes CO2/hectare per year. Using these metrics, to sequester 20 gigatonnes per year would require the planting of 800 million hectares of land, an area the size of Australia and New Guinea.Read more
Is carbon farming a pipe dream?
With a growing population and the world’s tropical forests being cleared each year for agricultural land to feed the world, it seems unlikely that we can find the land to sequester 20 gigatonnes/year of CO2 by planting trees. Or is it?Read more
We have an opportunity to become way more land-use efficient
The land required to produce 1 kilogram of protein from beef is 14 times greater than the land required to produce 1 kilogram of equivalent protein from beans, corn, or potatoes. With nearly 60% or 3.3 billion hectaresa> of the world’s agricultural land devoted to raising beef, we could produce the same amount of protein from plant sources using only 260 million hectares of land, a 93% reduction in land area.Read more
How much land can we find for reforestation?
If we were to substitute land-inefficient food sources, such as cattle, with efficient, plant-based alternatives — ideally using regenerative, no-till, and agroforestry practices — we would free up an area of land equal to the entire continent of Africa (over 3 billion hectares).Read more
Carbon farming solves many of the world’s problems
Both afforestation and reforestation of cattle pasture lands will not only relieve logging pressure on existing natural forests which themselves are important carbon sinks and harbor much of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, they would also provide the raw materials to supply a growing trend away from the use of CO2-intensive steel and concrete in building construction in favor of wood-based alternatives like laminated timber.Read more
Feeding a growing population
Drastically improving the efficiency of how much land is used to produce our protein and calories by switching to plant-based or more land-efficient animal sources, will also make it much easier to sustainably produce enough food to feed the world’s growing population.Read more
Features of a CFI Carbon Farm
The intention behind carbon farming is for the farm to be a carbon sink. An ideal carbon farm operates in a way that maximizes net carbon sequestation potential. Not only does this mean planting fast growing trees that are optimized for the local climate and conditions, it also means managing the farm using techniques and strategies that minimize operation emissions. CFI designed carbon farms will have some or all of the following attributes:
Due to the high cost of energy in Latin America, the lack of reliable infrastructure, and the abundance of sunshine, it makes economic sense to produce the farm's own renewable energy to power the buildings and machinery used on a carbon farm. Solar arrays are less expensive in Latin America than in North America with prices under $1/watt, which includes installation.
Each carbon farm requires storage facilities for tools and fertilizers, and a caretaker house. Repurposing used shipping containers to serve these purposes is not only environmentally friendly, it also makes a strong and secure building that reduces the chances of theft or vandalism.
During the phase of designing a carbon farm, The design team looks at existing natural forest on the property and neighboring properties and designs the farm to ensure that these existing forests are protected and in some cases expanded. If there's an opportunity to connect isolated pockets of forest, forest corridors are created through the planting of native vegetation to join these pockets together so that local wildlife can travel between these islands.
These Chinese made Electric Trucks are the right size for daily general farm activities and achieve two goals: 1) they eliminate a source of greenhouse gas emissions by not being powered by fossil fuels, 2) they eliminate the risk of ground contamination from potential fuel spills. The on-farm solar array + energy-storage charge these farm vehicles each night. By costing under $5,000 each, these electric trucks are a very affordable farm vehicle.
To further maximize net carbon sequestration potential of a carbon farm, Inexpensive electric motorcycles will be available for full-time farm staff to use for getting to and from the farm. They will be able to charge these motorcycles during the day using the carbon farm's solar array. After the first year of working on the farm, farm staff will be awarded these motorcycles as a bonus. This will ensure that the motorcycles are well cared for and provides an incentive for working hard.
With the rapidly approaching Starlink satellite internet service, it will soon be possible to stream live, high-bandwith 360° video feeds from the farm. This serves a few purposes: 1) it allows the farm owner to checkin on their farm at any time, which reduces the need for physically visiting the farm, thereby eliminating carbon emissions from traveling, 2) properly positioned at high spots on the farm, these cameras will provide security and will help with fire watch, 3) wildlife documentation will be possible and will allow the online science community to participate in endangered species documentation and monitor wildlife recovery.
CFI Carbon farms will operate using regenerative agricultural practices and qualify for USDA organic certifications for food crops and Rainforest Alliance and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certifications for the farm's carbon crops (e.g. hardwoods or bamboo).
To minimize carbon emissions from the sale and transportation of farm produced goods, CFI will encourage local markets for farm-grown food. As the number of carbon farms in an region scales up, CFI envisions electric vehicles for the delivery of farm grown produce and hardwood products.