#14 Tropical Staple Trees

This article explores tropical staple trees as a climate change solution. It is based on Project Drawdown, which was a 2017 initiative which mapped the top 100 most effective solutions to reverse global warming.


This is what I liked best about the Project Drawdown initiative. I liked the way it exposed you to really powerful climate change solutions that you had either not heard of before or doubted how potent they were.

Let’s look at the numbers that allowed tropical staple trees to make it into the top 20. Tropical staple trees could reduce CO2 emissions by 20.19 gigatons, for a net cost of $210.1 billion, but produce $627 billion in net savings. This is certainly a powerful solution.

The authors begin by explaining the problem with crops that are harvested on an annual basis:

Due to the nature of farming practices, annuals cause a net release of carbon from the atmosphere

The authors point out that:

Today, 89 percent of cultivated land, about 3 billion acres, is devoted to annuals. Of the remaining land in perennial crops, 116 million acres are used for perennial staple crops.”

But that incredibly:

Lands converted from annuals to perennial staples sequester, on average, 1.9 tons of carbon per acre every year for decades.”

The authors explain what is holding them back is the fact that: “most of the crops do not lend themselves to being mechanically picked or combined.”

But that: “they can be grown on slopes too steep for mechanised annual crop production and are suited to a wider range of soils.”

What you need to know

This article looked into tropical staple trees as a climate change solution. The 2017 Project Drawdown initiative ranked this as the 14th most effective solution to reverse global warming.

It certainly comes across as a solution that could store massive amounts of carbon. I will keep an eye out for it in the future.

Thank you for reading,

By Barnaby Nash

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below or reach out to me on social media. What do you think of tropical staple trees as a climate change solution?

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I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FollowBarnaby

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