This is a critical system to scale-up instead of the destructive African Oil Palm monocultures.
The African oil palm industry is rapidly expanding around the tropics, deforesting the last remaining tropical forests. They start by clear cutting and burning carbon rich and bio-diverse forests – literally igniting “carbon bombs” as they they release massive quantities of stored carbon, increasing greenhouse gas emissions into the overburdened atmosphere. Deforestation is responsible for 1/3 of the total global carbon emissions problem.
Sugar Palm, on the other hand, is grown in a diverse multi-strata agroforesty production system rather than a monoculture. Research in the Phillipines has shown these systems store more carbon than surrounding wild forest. The sugary sap of the Sugar Palm can be collected year round from a bio-diverse forest ecosystem that requires no chemical inputs so unlike African Palm plantations, they don’t contribute to the problem of polluted run-off damaging coral reefs. The Sugar Palm regenerates degraded soils, holds steep slopes in place and prevent erosion. It is a system that is very resilient in the face of climate disruption, and is a carbon negative production system for bio-ethanol. Sugar palm ethanol is much much more efficient than any other source of bio-ethanol currently produced at commercial scale which is why this system can produce such a high ROI when combined with other high value forest products.
If scaled-up globally, this system could replace much of the world’s petroleum fuel use – replacing petro-fuels with a bio-fuel that can actually heal the atmosphere, protecting the worlds remaining tropical forest carbon stocks and sucking even more of the excess carbon pollution back out of the air, storing it safely in the soils and in tropical forest biomass.
There are currently more than 500 million hectares of degraded tropical forests around the world that could be regenerated through this global carbon farming climate solution. We have all the tools needed to solve this problem.
Time is of the essence.