I Invested In A Rain Forest — Chris Turk -12th January 2015

Chris Turk has inves­ted in the Sheffield based Cochabamba Project .  It provides an oppor­tun­ity to sup­port home­less fam­il­ies from Bolivian slums on small farms and to refor­est small parts of these small hold­ings.

Bolivia is loc­ated to the west of Brazil with low­lands from 500 feet above sea level to high lands of 27,000 feet.  This means that there is a big range of veget­a­tion suit­able for the dif­fer­ent loc­a­tions of the small hold­ings.  As back­ground inform­a­tion, Chris covered Kontiki type reed boats and the ori­gins for the wear­ing of bowler hats by the women of the 29 indi­gen­ous tribes.  Each tribe has dif­fer­ent hat dec­or­a­tion.  Surprisingly there are over 200 vari­et­ies of potato grown in Bolivia and less sur­pris­ingly cocoa leaves are widely chewed by the pop­u­lous to over­come alti­tude sick­ness.  The air­port at La Plaz is 14,ooo feet above sea level.

The defor­est­a­tion of the trop­ical rain­forest by large cor­por­a­tions is well doc­u­mented and is of global con­cern.  To help the home­less, the Bolivian Government is giving poor fam­il­ies 24 to 25 hec­tare plots of land to farm.  The Cochabamba is help­ing these fam­il­ies to plant one hec­tare of their small hold­ing with suit­able trees.  Instruction is given in meth­ods of farm­ing and in how to under plant this wood­land to provide rev­enue for vari­ous stages during the 30 year cycle before the trees are felled for cash.

Chris explained why due to the very poor roads, small mobile saw­mills are required to enable farm­ers to get an income at 5, 10 and 20 year inter­vals.  The advant­age of the invest­ment is that fam­il­ies make a living off the small hold­ing and after 30 years they can cash in on a bonus when the trees are felled.  The Project helps 400 farm­ers on 26 pro­jects and there is a wait­ing list of people want­ing to join but haven’t any money.

Chris went into some detail of the vari­ous trees that are planted depend­ing on the ter­rain and into some of the plants for under plant­ing.