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Own a Rain Forest

 

 

 

Saving Biodiversity and
Forest Ecosystems of Yunnan, China





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Rain forest farming with ginger species

Shifting cultivation

 

 

 


 

Own a rain forest

Why are we doing this?
Rainforests in most parts of Asia nowadays are small patches of left-over forest areas outside of national parks. They are home to a very wide range of ecosystems from river banks to mountain ridges. And they have one thing in common:
They are traditionally managed and owned by small scale farmers, often with no or very little income.
Therefore, these farmers are under severe pressure to make the most income out of their forest land, and the trend to cut the forest and convert it into sugar cane, corn, and other crops for fast income is dramatically increasing with the cost for schooling of their children, medicine, and clothing.
In order to achieve both the protection of these last patches of Asian rainforest and a better income for the farmers, we have started the Rainforest-Farming Initiative (RFFI).


Farmers' children playing and helping in forest management.

How does it work?
We have opened the Rainforest-Farming-Foundation (RFFF). This Foundation is negotiating with farmers and local Governments to not cut their forests but go with us through a different model of development, described below.

Why not use international development organisations?
International organisations and bilateral help is obliged to work through central government structures. This entails a complicated process of negotiations, which slows down processes and makes them unable to respond to actual needs of local governments and farmers. It also makes it extremely difficult to reach out to the farmers’ level for funding and much of the money stays within intermediate structures. Furthermore, when farmers have problems with government’s policies and wilfare, bilateral and international organisations are reluctant to address the farmers’ needs as not to meddle with countries’ “internal afairs”.

What do I actually own if I buy a hectare of rain-forest?
You own one hectare of rainforest, presently for 60 years under local ownership and land-use rights; this may change to complete ownership with changing government policies within this decade. Within the statutes of the RFFF, this gives you the right to sell it to any other legal person or institution. However, its management responsibility will remain with RFFF because it is our obligation toward the local Government and the villagers to ensure sustainable management of the forests that we jointly select for this RFFF scheme.
As the land prices are increasing steadily, you may make a gain in selling your piece of rainforest a few years later.

How will RFFF manage the rainforest?
With the help of villagers, local and international experts, we are designing specific management schemes, which rely on secondary forest products. This means, we will not harvest trees, but we will support local species which grow naturally under the tropical forest canopy. For these species, we are opening – wherever possible – world trade markets. Examples are ginger species for health products, orchid species for horticulture, tropical oak fruits for food, rattan for furniture etc.
For a glimpse into the world of flowers that can be grown inside these forests, please see this page.

How are the local farmers part of the development?

These secondary forest species mentioned above will be managed by the farmers, who sold their piece of land to you. From the first income they will be able to build a better local house and improve their living conditions.
When selling products, the farmers will be increasing their income. We also open a summer-school for their children, where they learn English, arts, computer use, and specific skills according to their liking and interest. If you wish to support the schooling of “your” farmers’ children (usually 2 children per family in our area), you have the possibility to opt for it (US$ 200.- per year and child below 18 years).
In addition, the farmer family will receive a monthly support of US$ 100.- for immediate needs like cloth, medicine, and additional food. This way they become both employees of the RFFF scheme and stake holders of the RFF-Farming scheme’s income.


Proud Rain-Forest-Farmer in his rainforest farm

What are the total cost?
Comparing the actual cost at our web-page with the price you paid when you signed the RFFF Agreement, you can see how the value of your rainforest is increasing.

The present cost are:
1 ha of rainforest: US$ 4800.-

Optional for following years: US$ 1200.- per year for farmer family’s support and schooling of their children, if you wish to contribute to livelihood improvement schemes beyond the sustainable Forest Farming schemes we will implement. If you add this option, you are running your own development project.

How does my forest actually look like?
In most cases you will own a forest in the hilly watersheds of the Upper Mekong Region at an altitude between 600 and 1200 meter asl. The forest is usually close to a village of hill tribes from the Lahu, Akha, Jinuo, and other ethnic minorities.
These farmers regularly visit the forest to collect herbs, mushrooms, plant ginger species, get firewood, and occasional hunting.
Under the present pressure of modernisation, they would soon clear cut the forest for industrial crops plantation. Through your purchase, however, you will definitely prevent this.


Typical scene at the creek inside a rainforest farming system.

Contract Farming
If you are in some way connected to import trade in agriculture, herbs, fruits, forest products, flowers, horticulture, or related business, you may want to go for special contract growing schemes under this arrangement for your own specific products.
Please discuss with us, if your products will ecologically fit under the proposed scheme. We will support only such growing schemes, which contribute to the maintenance of the original forest structure and which protect local biodiversity.
If a scheme receives our quality approval, this is probably the most sustainable way of producing your products.

Thank you for your interest in this scheme. Please write to us for more information.

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Your ecologically friendly production of rain forest plants:
proudly traceable!


Imagine, the traceability of your supply chain leads your customers to the tropical jungles of the Mekong river and to the Himalayan mountains where Tibet meets Yunnan. Immerged in diverse culture and rich biodiversity, your customers can visit the places and people where your organic products start from pristine soils, clean air, and where they support the livelihood of local ethnic communities.

Would this add to the sustainability and credibility of your company?

Would your trademark benefit from international research publications lauding your company's involvement in saving the rain forest?

If you are in the food, cosmetics, flower, herbal, and medical business, certifying your products as contributing to rain forest and biodiversity protection will be an advantage with a competitive edge.

The TianZi Biodiversity Centre is working with German Universities to design land use systems, which are bound to change paradigms: we promote rare agro-biodiversity species, manage complexity, and find alternatives to destructive forms of mono culture.

If all this is in line with your company's business concept - please contact us.

The TianZi Team.


 

Landuse in Yunnan is largely designed by ethnic minority people from more than 20 distinctly different ethnic communities. Wherever possible, and mainly in the fertile lowlands, rice fields are forming the landscape.

In the mountains, shifting cultivation is predominant, although it is now gradually given up for increased cash crop production.

Agricultural industry has taken its toll and large mountain areas are under sever environmental stress by destructive ways of growing crops like sugar cane, corn, rubber, pine apple, and even the famous Puer tea.

Yunnan is also rich in traditional herbal medicine, which is one of the agricultural crops in some areas. Although the majority of herbs is still collected in the wild.

This forest protection scheme addresses the issues around forest loss by simply saving forests from further destruction.