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Old 01-12-07, 11:20 AM   #1
crtreedude 
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The Life and Times of CRTreeDude

By popular demand and so that I don't pollute "Watcha doing" too much, I am starting this thread.

My wife and I are living in Costa Rica involved in reforestation. If you did not know, something like 73% of Costa is Deforested and yet, it is one of the places in the world with the most Biodiversity on the planet. For example, up North there are 200 birds, here we have 800 - and I could go on.

My goals have been to come up with methods so that reforestation could pay for itself. We are being pretty successful at it. About 5+ years ago I decided I was tired of making people I really didn't like too much richer than they already were, and wanted to do something else. Something else moved us to another country!

Shadiyah, we try very hard to live a simple life. We pour all our resources into the reforestation. It is what makes us happy. But, in many ways, I feel I live a life of luxury. We have people who take care of just about every task we have to do (cleaning, cooking, laundry, lawn, cleaning my bike, our car, etc) and so we don't have a lot of stuff, but we don't spend much time doing chores.

We also try to live very modestly. We can afford to buy just about anything we would want, but it would cause us to be isolated from our friends and neighbors. My income is probably 20 times more than average here.

So, with all the excess money, I start new companies. I team up with a Costa Rican, they provide the blood, sweat and tears (and I pay them) and I provide the capital and business knowledge - and we both make more money.

Today is my wife's birthday, yesterday the neighbors threw her a party. She came home all emotional and said it was the greatest birthday she had ever had. The neighbors explained to her, one by one, the impact that we have had in their lives. Things like this are priceless. We gave up the richness we had in home and vehicles in the United States for a richness in our experiences and relationships.

Seems to me that we got the better end of the deal.

Ask away on any question.
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Old 01-12-07, 11:31 AM   #2
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How have you made reforestation pay for itself? Can you explain the business model?
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Old 01-12-07, 11:40 AM   #3
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Sure,

Tropical hardwoods are really valuable, that is one of the reasons for the deforestation that we see (in truth, cutting down a tree is not deforestation, changing the land use from forest to something else is). To bring back a forest, you cannot plant the climax forest, you have to start with pioneer species. So we plant those. We sell these trees to investors who own the trees and all the wood that comes from the trees. We over plant by 10% (because of normal losses) and then, when there is a dead tree or damaged, we replace it with trees that will make up the permanent forest.

The trees grown for profit are all removed within 25 years, the owner gets the money, and the land was purchased with the money people pay us to grow the trees - and the land because a permanent rainforest.

So, simply, one cycle of plantation trees to bring back a rainforest. Once we plant the plantation trees, it will always be trees.
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Old 01-12-07, 11:41 AM   #4
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Are you hiring? Please?
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Old 01-12-07, 11:46 AM   #5
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Not a question, dude, just admiration.
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Old 01-12-07, 11:46 AM   #6
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Eboo, you wouldn't believe how often I have someone ask that...

What is your major? (by the way, we lived in Clarence Centre for two years)
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Old 01-12-07, 11:48 AM   #7
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Ummmm, Foo field trip to Costa Rica!

I'm majoring in Biology, can I work for you?!
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Old 01-12-07, 11:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crtreedude
Eboo, you wouldn't believe how often I have someone ask that...

What is your major? (by the way, we lived in Clarence Centre for two years)
Clarence! My old housemate grew up in Clarence

I doubt you really want me...my undergraduate degree is in Anthropology/Underwater Archaeology, and I just got my masters in Library Science (Librarian) Think of it, though...you could have your own, personal librarian! I also grew up on a big ol' dairy farm, I can milk your wandering cows...

It sounds perfect down there. You and your wife are part of a great big wonderful thing.
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Old 01-12-07, 11:52 AM   #9
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I would feel better about myself if I wasn't having so much fun.

What is weird is until we did this I never really thought of myself as an environmentalist - more of a pragmatist. After all, I live on this planet too.

By the way, if any of you have a lot of time on your hands and are curious, this is a new article I wrote with a new idea on how to effectively reforest. Article by CRTreeDude
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Old 01-12-07, 11:56 AM   #10
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Believe it or not, one of my passions was Anthropology and I have always thought it helped me more in business than anything else, especially business in a foreign culture like this.

Another of the weird things is that when I was in High School, my dream job was to be a forestry professional of some kind - and I forgot all about it. Until we were about 3 years into Finca Leola. Then it occurred to me that I was finally able to land in the job I always wanted.

I guess the only way to get someone to hire me to do it was to own the company.
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Old 01-12-07, 12:11 PM   #11
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Soooo so cool! I am in awe of your life! That would seriously be something that I could only dream of my life becoming. Just thinking about it makes me smile.
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Old 01-12-07, 12:23 PM   #12
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See - old geezers can be cool!

You might be surprised in how easy it is to do. I hate to bring this up - especially on an open forum, but something we started this year was to help others be involved, it goes like this.

A person buys a property (with our advice, help and near us) that is suitable for reforestation. It has to be fairly large - say 70 acres or larger. We then make an agreement with them for the use of all the land except for about 5 percent (about 4 acres) for a homesite. We will reforest the whole thing using our people and our resources, and we will rebate them the cost of the land where the trees are. Often this ends up being the total cost of the land.

There is an ecological easement on the land so that it the reforested section will stay reforested forever. They can sell the land, but the agreements go with the land.

So, some can have a large piece of land to enjoy - and the only cost is waiting for the money to return, which we will do within 3 years (usually 1 year).

We already own so much land that we really don't need to become land barons. This is a way to involve others.

We do well because I don't have to pay for land ahead of time - and of course the land owners do well because they have their cake and eat it too. (have land, and have the money return quickly)

This is allowing us to grow much faster because I don't have to worry about cash flow as much.
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Old 01-12-07, 12:26 PM   #13
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By the way, our daughter (who lives in the USA) tells people who ask what I do for a living, "My Father is buying a small latin American country, one piece at a time". Sometimes I wonder if she is right...
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Old 01-12-07, 12:54 PM   #14
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Hmmm...how much is 70 acres? Maybe we should form the Foo Consortium of Costa Rican Land Owners Association and make ourselves up a bunch of bike trails and cottages for vacations, riding and of course, bbq'ing something.
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Old 01-12-07, 01:28 PM   #15
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Pretty close to 1,200.00 USD per acre right now. You wouldn't have to even worry about bike trails - all of Costa Rica is a bike trail!
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Old 01-12-07, 01:51 PM   #16
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crtreedude...it sounds like you have been doing this for 5 years, but the article you linked to (which I guess you wrote), talks about yields occurring at 6 or 7 years, 17 years, 25 years, etc. How are you already generating a profit?

Are you selling tree futures?

Thanks
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Old 01-12-07, 02:20 PM   #17
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Quote:
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Hmmm...how much is 70 acres? Maybe we should form the Foo Consortium of Costa Rican Land Owners Association and make ourselves up a bunch of bike trails and cottages for vacations, riding and of course, bbq'ing something.
Now someone is speaking my language.
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Old 01-12-07, 02:27 PM   #18
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The growth rates of trees are very well known, and since, at least for the first 80 years, growth rates are linear, after 3 years, the future can be projected. I am already selling lumber I am buying from other plantations (that is in another company I own).

The demand for lumber far exceeds the supply right now - and for the forseeable future.

Yes, we are profitable. Not hugely, but that is the goal.

We don't sell tree futures, just the trees themselves, which of course have future value.
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Old 01-12-07, 02:28 PM   #19
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This is the best thing I've read in ages. My family is from Honduras, and the brain is already churning with ideas for reforestation there.

Thanks, amigo.
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Old 01-12-07, 02:31 PM   #20
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Very cool - if you need any advice, etc. Let me know. I am more than willing to help.
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Old 01-12-07, 02:34 PM   #21
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I love forests. What pisses me off the most here in california. The greedy bastards who want to constantly use every little piece of land to make profit off of real estate. Small patches of trees are cut down, little areas where plants were that you wouldn't even think they could build anything on, they are building apartments on. Trees at the end of my court are completely cut down to stumps. Why? Wtf.. I liked the trees there. It annoys the **** out of me. We need more forests, and less buildings. STOP BUILDING SHlT EVERYWHERE.
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Old 01-12-07, 02:38 PM   #22
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And then when there is a big mudslide... everyone wonders what happened.
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Old 01-12-07, 02:50 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crtreedude
And then when there is a big mudslide... everyone wonders what happened.
Excatly that.


Read your website amazing and well done.

Now if only I could afford to buy some trees.
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Old 01-12-07, 02:53 PM   #24
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You can probably see the work of my wife on the website - you see, she is an editor... My contributions here are not nearly as well written I fear.
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Old 01-12-07, 02:54 PM   #25
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I really don't want to do a sales pitch here - but if anyone wants to discuss buying trees - the contact info is on the website. We have even payment plans and you can use IRA money too.
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