Image Source: Flickr. By: Bright Star.

Deforestation continues to happen around the world at an alarming rate. However, one international company is on a mission to slow deforestation, while also earning carbon credits—but their site of choice for a tree plantation may surprise you.

ECO2 Forests Inc. plans to grow up to 3 million trees over the next 7 years in the high desert of northern Nevada. The trees will be planted at irrigated tree farms and will cover up to 21 square miles north of Reno (about the size of Bermuda). The company and land owners (collectively named Jaksick Entities) have already acquired the water rights needed to launch the first plantation. There will be 7 plantations to start with, each being 2,000 acres in size.

What kind of trees will they be growing at the plantations? Kiri Trees. Also known as the Pao Tong, Empress Tree, Foxglove Tree, and Princess Tree, they are native to China, fast-growing and can naturally regenerate from the stump after harvest. They have broad leaves and will grow up to 20 feet during their first year. By the end of 7 years, they will be about 80 feet tall and 20 inches thick. They are dormant in the winter and don’t require any water during that time. Oh, and they can capture more carbon than any other tree currently known.

ECO2 Forests’ CEO, Collie Christensen, explained:

“By growing our sustainable forests, we can help stop the logging of forests that have existed for hundreds of years and enjoyed by thousands of families every year.” … “Due to the specific regenerative nature of the Kiri tree being planted and its ability to re-grow from the stump after each harvest, the project should endure for approximately 50 years and then can be extended again by replanting.”

On top of the plantations being added to the Nevada desert, ECO2 Forests also announced a similar 2,000 acre project for the island of Vanualu. They are also considering the potential of adding Kiri plantations to over 1 million acres around the world.

The good news doesn’t stop there. At least 6.5 million carbon credits will be created from the project, which can either be sold to third parties or on open markets around the world at approximately $84 million per cycle. The plantation will also create 280 additional jobs and $1.5 billion in revenue for Nevada, over the 7 year harvest cycle.

I am definitely curious to see how this project will turn out, plus the potential 1 million acres to be added around the world. It’s definitely a great idea to combat deforestation. Now if we could only convince people to stop cutting down so many trees.

Lead image by James Gordon (source: Flickr)