Marathon tree planting to offset carbon emission from tourism event

A lot of sweat is needed to offset carbon emissions.  More than  350 volunteers found this out when they planted 5,000 native trees.

The tree planting in Costa Rica was to offset carbon generated by the Adventure Travel World Summit 2016 in Anchorage, Alaska.

Rios Tropicales and the Costa Rican Network of Private Nature Reserves partnered with Visit Anchorage Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Adventure Travel Trade Association to make world adventure travel conference carbon neutral.

One of the country’s largest tree planting events in one day took place on a private reserve in Bajos del Tigre in Santa Marta, Siquirres, in Limón province. The International Carbon Neutral Project Alaska-Costa Rica seeks to offset the carbon emissions generated by the summit of the Adventure Travel Trade Association.

That will be Sept. 19 to 22 in Anchorage.

The colossal tree planting event was organized by the Costa Rican whitewater rafting tour company Rios Tropicales, and the Costa Rican Network of Private Nature Reserves, in partnership with Visit Anchorage, the Adventure Travel Trade Association, Alaska Airlines, the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo, and EARTH University. The university in Siquirres verified the tree planting and will ensure that the level of carbon compensation accurately offsets the carbon emissions generated by travel to the Anchorage summit, organizers said.

“It’s a great step toward showing the rest of the world what can be done.  This is a good example of how two countries can work together and will show other cities having conferences that they

can do things to take care of the environment,” said Rafael
Gallo, co-founder and president of Rios Tropicales and president of the Costa Rican Network of Natural Reserves. “It can be reciprocated anywhere in the world. Planting trees in Costa Rica by an adventure tour company shows the whole world how to be carbon neutral.”

Gallo and representatives from the tourism institute will represent Costa Rica at the summit.

The trees were planted on a finca owned by Gallo and his partner Jimmy Nixon, co-founder of Rios Tropicales. They offered 10 acres of their 247-acre (100-hectare) farm for the tree planting project. It is part of the large Rios Tropicales private reserve that protects 1,977 acres (800 hectares) of primary rainforest and pasture land being converted back to rainforest.

Gallo and Nixon have already reforested more than 44 acres (18 hectares) on their farm since 2008, and said they plan to reforest the entire property over the next 10 years.

Volunteers organized by the Costa Rican Network of Private Nature Reserves came from San José. Other volunteers, including 113 local schoolchildren from Jabillos, El Tigre, Tres Equis and Linda Vista, came from other areas of Costa Rica.

The saplings are 10 kinds of native hardwoods like pilon, guapinol and mountain almond that are proven to be good for climate in that region of Costa Rica. The 3,000 mountain almond trees planted will eventually provide shelter for endangered great green macaws, that live in the Caribbean region.

In about 12 to 14 years, these trees will capture the approximately 1,200 tons of carbon estimated to be produced during the Anchorage event by people traveling to the conference, principally on flights, according to Edmundo Castro, head of carbon neutrality for EARTH University.

The field is full of volunteers who managed to plant 5,000 saplings of native trees.

The field is full of volunteers who managed to plant 5,000 saplings of native trees.

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