Please find below the
SUBJECT: Your proposal has been selected as a Finalist!
Congratulations! Your proposal, Integrating REDD+ and Green Economic Growth for Sustainable Forest Landscapes, in the Land Use Contest, has been selected to advance to the Finalists round.
Be proud of your accomplishment – more than 350 proposals were submitted and only a very small number have been advanced through these two rounds of judging.
As a Finalist, your proposal is eligible for the contest’s Judges Choice award, as well as the contest’s Popular Choice award, which is determined by public voting.
If you haven’t already, you will soon receive an email from the Climate CoLab staff with details about the voting period. If you don’t receive that email within the next day, or have other questions, please contact the Climate CoLab staff at email@example.com
All winners will be announced the week after the voting period ends, on September 12, 2015 at midnight Eastern Time.
Both Judges Choice and Popular Choice will receive a special invitation to attend selected sessions at MIT’s SOLVE conference and present their proposals before key constituents in a workshop the next day, where a $10,000 Grand Prize will be awarded. A few select Climate CoLab winners will join distinguished SOLVE attendees in a highly collaborative problem-solving session. Some contests have additional prizes given by the contest sponsor.
Thank you for your work on this very important issue. We’re proud of your proposal, and we hope that you are too. Again, congratulations!
2015 Climate CoLab Judges
Here is summary of the Judges comments:
• Work in Acre is significant, its real, its happening, and could have huge market supply opportunity due to the jurisdictional approach
• Good idea, realistic and well-thought out
• Financing seems reasonable
• Proposal appears scalable beyond Acre
Congratulations! Your proposal Integrating REDD+ and Green Economic Growth for sustainable forest landscapes, in the Land Use: Agriculture, Forestry, Livestock contest has been selected to advance to the Semi-Finalists round. You will be able to revise your proposal and add new collaborators if you wish, from July 1st, 2015 until July 14, 2015, midnight Eastern Time.
At the revision deadline listed above, your proposal will be locked and considered in final form. The Judges will undergo another round of evaluation to ensure that Semi-Finalist proposals have addressed the feedback given, and select which proposals will continue to the Finalists round. Finalists are eligible for the contest’s Judges Choice award, as well as for public voting to select the contest’s Popular Choice award.
The Judges' comments are posted below.
Please incorporate answers to these comments in your revisions, or your proposal may not be advanced to the Finalists round.
Judge 1: Teak needs a very particular soil mix to grow successfully. Brazilian forests are filled with false promises from failed teak plantations because of the wrong soil and lack of knowledge in plantation forestry. Just drive through southern Mato Grosso. Eucalyptus release chemicals that prohibit other species from growing. Both teak and eucalyptus plantations can indirectly cause "empty forest syndrome" as pollinating fauna are no longer present. Converting the energy source to biomass fuel requires substantial engineering / reconstruction of existing power plants, and it requires shipping said wood to the biomass site. Needs more thought on both points.
Judge 2: Ambitious proposal that is well through-out, for a sustainable development initiative in northwest Brazil based on forest biomass. Faces many practical challenges, but with broad support it has the potential to make a lasting difference.
Thank you for your great work and again, congratulations!
2015 Climate CoLab Judges
Jul 2, 2015
Response to Judge 1: We have been working with EMBRAPA to understand and identify appropriate soils (and other conditions) for growing teak in Acre. Within our proposed landscape, some soils are fit for purpose while others aren't. Fortunately, our field team will - with ongoing technical assistance from EMBRAPA - be able to ensure that teak is planted only on the right soils, etc. and that the plantations are properly managed over time. We have, indeed, seen many teak plantations in Acre that were poorly planned and are poorly managed. There are, however, mature counterexamples that demonstrate what can be achieved if done in a professional manner. With regards to "empty forest syndrome," it may be worth stressing that we will not establish the type of monolithic plantations found elsewhere in Brazil. Rather, we intend to establish smaller plantations alongside other land uses (including areas dedicated to the permanent conservation of natural forests) in a mosaic pattern. With regards to biomass, we have assessed both the costs and environmental impacts of transport. We believe that the first is manageable and that the second can be ameliorated by following industry best practices (plus a few added ideas of our own). Two existing power plants in Acre can be converted to biomass use at relatively low cost. The other installations would replace existing diesel plants that are expected to become obsolete within the next 3-5 years. There is existing engineering expertise within Acre to convert the existing plants to biomass and install the new plants. Response to Judge 2: Agreed! Fortunately, we have managed to assemble broad support amongst landowners, key government authorities, government agencies (e.g. EMBRAPA), civil society (e.g. WWF Brazil) and potential private sector partners.
Jul 9, 2015
CHANGES AND ADDITIONS TO PROPOSAL: • Under “Summary,” the project’s objectives are more specific and measurable while remaining actionable, realistic and time-bound. • Under “What actions do you propose,” the section on Role of Renewable Energy has been expanded. Amongst other clarifications, we now note that technical and financial feasibility studies have been conducted and factored into Refloresta’s business model. Feasibility studies have considered both the quality and cost of required engineering work – hence, our two pronged approach that combines expanded capacity in existing biomass plants (currently burning wood waste from lumber mills) with the installation of two to three cutting-edge biomass gassification plants. Because the average transport of biomass to each plant must be 25km or less, we will install a strong of small power plants along Acre’s two major highways. • Under “What actions do you propose,” a section on Feasibility, Scalability and Replicability has been added. We believe this is an important edit, clarifying the lengths to which we have gone to independently test and refine the project’s social, technical, and commercial feasibility. o Our detailed feasibility studies, which include thirty-year financial projections, are now duly referenced. Ernst & Young Global Limited has been hired to audit and validate these figures. We have not inserted our 30-year projections into the CoLab submission due to their length and commercial sensitivity. o The project’s 70,000 ha. reforestation target is, in fact, a little more than half the original 125,000 ha. proposed by the Government of Acre. Following proof of concept, Floresta and the State Government aim to scale the project back up to 125,000 ha. We have purposefully designed the project to be scalable within Acre’s forest landscape and replicable in other tropical forest landscapes. o During the past two years, we have been able to present our Public-Private-Community Partnership model to a number of national and sub-national governments in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) Region. Government authorities from Amapa State, Brazil and Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, and Chile believe that our approach to low emissions rural development fits their circumstances and could be replicated. Pre-feasibility studies have tempered initial optimism (ruling out Costa Rica, for example) but generally remain encouraging (potential sites have been identified in Amapa, Chile and Colombia). • Under “Who will take these actions,” we have clarified the extent to which agreements have already been reached between key institutions and other implementing partners, including Floresta and the State Company for the Development of Environmental Services (CDSA), Floresta and the Brazilian Government’s Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA), Floresta and WWF Brazil, and Floresta and the Federal University of Acre’s Faculty of Forestry. These agreements are essential since our ambitious project will require broad, active support to make a lasting difference. • Under “Timeline,” we have added details to clarify the extent of work already done – especially with regards to proving technical feasibility and negotiating agreements with implementing partners and service providers. • Under “References,” we have inserted Refloresta’s Business Plan as well as the detailed feasibility studies that underpin the design of our proposed project. Highly regarded third-party experts conducted the community consultation process and developed our biomass energy, energy market, and forestry feasibility studies. RESPONSES TO SPECIFIC CONCERNS RAISED BY THE JUDGES: • Risk of plantation failure: Some standing teak plantations in Acre were poorly planned and are poorly managed. There are, however, mature counterexamples that demonstrate what can be achieved if done in a professional manner. Floresta has been working with EMBRAPA to understand and identify appropriate soil and other requirements for growing teak in Acre. Towards this end, EMBRAPA Document 97, Teca (Teca grandis): key questions for forestry enterprises, has proven an invaluable staring point. See References for details. Within our proposed project landscape, some soils are fit for purpose while others aren't. Fortunately, our field team will - with ongoing technical assistance from EMBRAPA - be able to ensure that teak is planted only on the right soils, etc. and that all plantations are properly managed over time. • Empty forest syndrome/green deserts: We are aware of and concerned about the potential environmental impact of planted forests on local biodiversity. Under our model, plantations would be established only on degraded, exotic pastures where there is very little wildlife. Hence, “empty forest syndrome” – at least as typically construed – shouldn’t be much if an issue. Concerns about overall biodiversity, including a decline in pollinating species, is germane. The transition from degraded exotic pasture to plantation forestry can have varying impacts on biodiversity. A 2010 review of the available research (L. Bremer and K. Farley. Does plantation forestry restore biodiversity or create green deserts? A synthesis of the effects of land-use transitions on plant species richness. Biodiversity Conservation. 19:3893-3915) suggests that the understory of exotic specie plantations can be less bio-diverse than the grasslands they replace while the understory of native specie plantations can be more diverse. It is, therefore, reasonable to anticipate less biodiversity in our eucalyptus plantations than in our parica plantations. In order to mitigate the impact across Acre’s forest landscape as a whole, our plantations will be established in a mosaic pattern alongside other land uses (including areas dedicated to the permanent conservation of natural forests) rather than the monolithic blocks found elsewhere in Brazil. It is also important to consider a “without project scenario.” The State Company for the Development of Environmental Services (CDSA) and the State Institute of Climate Change (IMC) believe that the establishment of a sustainable plantation industry is crucial to the long-term conservation of Acre’s native forests and their rich biodiversity. • Wood transport: Considerable effort has gone into assessing the feasibility of all project activities, including the transport of plantation wood to timber and energy industries. Please see the excerpt below (which excludes illustrations and graphs) for details. In sum, economic analyses indicate that the average distance from plantations to delivery areas should be 25 km or less for the eucalyptus plantations, and 40 km or less for higher value timber species. • Broad support: We agree that the feasibility of our ambitious project hinges on coordinated effort by a number of public, private and civil society organizations. Substantial progress has already been made, as documented through a series of signed agreements and MoUs. As significant, the project has already been reviewed and endorsed by the State Commission for Validation and Monitoring. This Commission, which reviews all projects and programs proposed under the State System of Incentives for Environmental Services (SISA), is composed of a balanced number of government and civil society members. It’s stamp of approval ensures broad political and public support for our project. _____________________________ _____________________________ _____________________________ Excerpt from February 2012 Sustainable Forest Landscape Investments in Acre: Feasibility Study. 7.7. Wood Transport to Processing Industry (timber and energy) 7.7.1. Best Practices and Technique Description The different systems described earlier in Section 0 are also used in this part of the report in order to describe the wood transportation from road side to the industry. After some drying time at road side the wood is collected by a large truck and coupled trailer with a load capacity of 54 tonnes. The truck is loaded by a separate hydraulic grapple loader on a wheel-chassis. The unloading at the (power) plant is done with the same type of equipment and included in the calculations. 7.7.2. Resources Requirements The following types of resources are required for the different wood assortments. System E: Transport of energy wood (round wood). The system E is producing round wood piled at landings along truck roads. The round wood is loaded to the truck by a separate crane loader on a wheel chassis. The “three bogie” trailer (Tritrem) is the preferred combination. System S: Transport of round-wood from thinning and clear-cut sawlog plantation areas. The same type of loader and truck-trailer combination is used also in this system. The different assortments (energy and saw logs) should preferably be piled separately at the roadside landing in order to facilitate delivery to separate consumers (power plants and saw mills). In this system the loader should be equipped with a special grapple in order to facilitate the T&B assortment. The trailer should be equipped with three or four 6 m open containers for easier loading of the T&B assortment on to the truck and in order to contain tops and branches from falling off during the transport. When loading, the crane should also try to compress the material as much as possible in the containers in order to increase the solid content of the load. The load size will be limited to 44 m3. System RNF: Transport of T&B from harvesting of sawlogs from natural forest. The same type of equipment is used as in previous system RCC. The load size is limited to 44 m3. System RLC: Transport of stump parts and other debris from land cleared areas. The same type of equipment as in system RCC and RNF is used. One specific problem with this assortment is the rather high content of dirt contaminating the stump fraction, it is not unusual that up to 20% of the weight can be sand and dirt. Some of that will be discharged during the transport and some in the crushing operation. The containers have to be cleaned from time to time. The load size is limited to 40 m3. 7.7.3. Operational Costs Estimates The operational costs for trucking are expressed in graphs as Under-way-costs (USD/m3s & km) and terminal time cost as USD/m3s. The road distance is expressed in total main and gravel road km. The different curves are representing different initial length of gravel roads in the forest area. The curves are also expressed by a power function. 7.7.4. Summary of Terminal and Loading/Unloading Costs The loading and unloading costs have been calculated based on the loader productivity and costs per productive hour. The terminal costs for the truck has been calculated based on loading/unloading time plus checking time. Possible waiting time at industry locations has not been included.