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.