Drinking This Tea helps save trees!
We, at Eswaran, will plant a tree in a certified reforestation project for every 100 packs of green tea that are purchased.
Sri Lanka is considered a green country. But did you know that we only have 6% of our original rainforest cover left? Sri Lanka is also one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. This means that we are home to many unique species that are not found anywhere else in the world. Most of our remaining forest has been fenced off inside poorly protected patches.
At Eswaran, we are working with our partners to protect and reconnect Sri Lanka’s remaining natural heritage in trying to reverse the centuries long trend of deforestation.
The Hiniduma Biolink Project, is a unique reforestation project, that will establish a biodiversity corridor between Sri Lanka’s two large remaining rainforest patches, Sinharaja and Kanneliya.
The Conservation Carbon Company (www.conservecarbon.org) in partnership with Rainforest Rescue International (www.rainforestrescueinternational.org) will use analog forestry (http://conservecarbon.org/conservation-carbon/analog-forestry/concept) to conserve approximately 23,473 ha buffer zones around the forest edges. This means that the rainforest will be mimicked on the forest edge lands of small hold farmers in the Southern region.
The bio-link will mimic the ecology of the surrounding forests on neighboring home gardens, but simultaneously provide the surrounding small hold farmers real economic benefits. Farmers are given a mixture of endemic/ wild rainforest plants and cash crops that they are paid to take care of.
This provides farmers a financial incentive to protect forest species and provides a solution for those in the front line of the human-forest conflict. In addition to carbon sequestration (absorption), this project will provide a number of important environmental benefits; including wildlife habitat protection, increased animal and plant biodiversity, increased animal movements between isolated forest patches, improved soil quality, prevent soil erosion, protect the river basins, protect the watershed in the area and improve the water quality.
Ecosystem Impact Mitigation
This project aims to provide many ecosystem services other than creating a biolink in between two forest patches. Some of them are listed below;
• Establishment of mixed species trees on underutilized lands with minimal biodiversity.
• Emphasis is placed on collecting tree species seeds within the community to maintain a seed bank and a nursery.
• By increasing the forest cover, increase the wildlife habitat and improve the arboreal movements of animals using the bio-link when canopy structure is developed.
• Increase the watershed by protecting the riverine areas.
Soil Quality Improvement
With the new planting, soil quality and soil conservation will be increased particularly by the prevention of soil erosion associated with heavy rainfall and siltation of water courses. (Climate change adaptation benefit.)
The soil’s quality will be measured by comparing of soil depth humidity level and nutrient content in different sampling frequencies.
Setting up KPI’s and practical targets is identified as a future activity after monitoring and analyzing the soil for at least two years.
Hydrological benefits, such as harvesting of incidental moisture and improving water flows which reduce flooding are some of the identified key watershed protection activities resulting from this project. Planting suitable tree species near the riverine areas, will help protect the river basins and also help to protect the watershed in the area. Some identified factors which enhance the water quality is as below:
• Increase in forest cover (increased water retention and decreased evaporation).
• Planting within the vicinity of rivers and streams.
• Planting within strategic watersheds.
Routine water monitoring analysis will ensure improvements in watershed protection and water quality enhancing activities.
Benefits for small hold farmers
Land tenure of the project area is either solely owned by the farmers or Swarnabhoomi or Jayabhoomi deeds (Swarnabhoomi and Jayabhoomi are long term land lease schemes which are awarded by the Sri Lankan government to small scale traditional farmer communities). Government of Sri Lanka has provided a perpetual lease facility to the farmers do not have ownership of the land thus giving complete rights to farm on the lands and generate income.
Commercial agriculture and silviculture is the mainstay for the economy in the project area. Land used in this area and the main income of the farmers is mainly traditional tea planting, small rubber plantations, coconut, coffee and paddy cultivation. Average monthly household income of the farmers in the project area varies between Rs.3500 to Rs.10000.
Livelihood of the farmers will be enhanced in several ways, by improving woodlots that provide a local and sustainable source of firewood and poles, reducing pressure on other forest resources. Income diversification through non timber forest products (NTFP’s) such as – medicines, fruits, shading materials, livestock feeding, etc. Provision of potential bee keeping habitat as beehives could be hung in the trees, shading for humans and livestock, and pruning material may be used as firewood.
The economic benefit of the project is a win-win situation for both land owners and the project developers. Hence projects will only succeed if land-use practices are viable over the long-term and provide sustainable economic benefits to communities over and above carbon payments. Attractive financial benefits driving them onwards conservation of planted trees for the project duration. On the other hand project developers will be benefited by selling the carbon credits and the benefit will be partially shared with farmers. Sequestrated CO2 from newly planted trees are eligible to be sold as voluntary carbon credits for local and international markets after going through the project development, validation and verification processes.
Tree Planting Guarantee
We track the sale of our tea with unique batch numbers given at the bottom of each box. This information is linked in our system to each tree that we plant in the Hiniduma project. You can find our “tree counter” on the facebook page (www.facebook.com/olindatea).