As fires rage in the largest rainforest in the world, global concern is mounting over the lack of preventative measures that could have been taken to avoid large-scale fires in the world’s most vital carbon store. The Amazonian rainforests are proven assets in slowing down the pace of climate change and are home to approximately three million species of plants and animals and one million indigenous people.
EcoForests CEO Michael Ackerman has called on government officials to “learn from privately owned plantations where risk levels for fires are minimal.” With consistent pruning, cleaning, and organic fertilization to eliminate weeds that typically start forest fires, the risk is substantially lowered for fires to start and spread on a widespread basis.
Applying lessons from the private sector to national forests
A recent Hancock Timber Resource group study found that with $300 Billion invested in managed forests across the globe, less than .05 per cent is affected by forest fire or flood. According to Ackerman, “Forestry investment plantations receive considerable checks-and-balances that care-taking and management of plantations is optimal. There is a need for additional resources and political willingness to improve the management of state-owned forestlands. With the technology and safety measures available today, the Amazon forest crisis should not be happening.”
An example of positive resource allocation and political willingness to protect its forestland is Honduras, which has recently made great strides to protect federal plantations. In 2013, Honduras became the first country in Latin America to initiate negotiations for a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) under the European Union’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan to create systems that improve forest management and incentivize responsible operations. Similarly, Costa Rica, which at one point lost most of its forest cover due to deforestation and government inaction, has doubled its forest cover in the last 30 years after introducing stricter federal management policies and incentives to farmers.
Upcoming EcoForests projects
As part of its Impact Investing mandate and commitment to sustainable forestry practices, EcoForests is excited to introduce several upcoming agricultural-forestry (“agroforestry”) projects in South America, with a focus on Ecuador and Colombia, two nations with strong forestry protection laws. These projects will each centre around the harvesting of cacao plantations and continue EcoForests’ sustainable operating principles into the agroforestry sector.
EcoForests is a boutique forestry investment management company that manages high-end tropical timber species on behalf of their global private and institutional investors, maximizing returns through a commitment to quality, technique, sustainability and security. Headquartered in Toronto, EcoForests has forestry operations in Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama and regional offices in Hong Kong, USA, Israel and UK.
ECOFORESTS OPINION: Michael Ackerman, CEO of EcoForests Asset Management (“EcoForests”) released statement supporting global outcry on inaction of current Brazilian government to prevent Amazonian forest fires, provides insight into lessons to be learned from private sector to avoid future fires.