Vita Talalay supports the Tropical Mix afforestation and reforestation project which is dedicated to the safety and protection of the Panama forests, climate, biodiversity, and the social living conditions.
CO2OL Afforestation and Reforestation Project in Panama
Deep inside the forests of the Central and South American region, you can encounter one of the key components of Vita Talalay: natural latex. The Vita Talalay products are made up of raw materials from a latex-producing plant known as the Rubber Tree (Hevea Brasiliensis). Many regions in Central and South America are considered home for rubber trees, one of these regions being Panama.
Vita Talalay supports the CO2OL Tropical Mix afforestation and reforestation project in Panama and is certified with a reforesetation area. The project is dedicated to the safety and protection of the Panama forests, climate, biodiversity, as well as the social living conditions of the communities surrounded in this region.
CO2OL Agency for Climate Protection
Since CO2OL’s establishment in 1998, they have strived to improve degraded areas in developing countries through an economical, social and ecological way. CO2OL has afforestation and reforestation projects throughout the world, located in countries like Panama, Ethiopia, Republic of Congo, Germany, and Bolivia. Although there are differences in a geographical perspective, all reforestation projects have a similar goal. This goal is to improve biodiversity, social living conditions as well as the environment, through the creation of new forests that reduce carbon emissions in the atmosphere.
CO2OL Tropical Mix in Panama
Among their portfolio of projects is the afforestation and reforestation project in Panama, known as the CO2OL Tropical Mix. This project started in 2007 and has since then focused on reforesting degraded pastureland in Panama with native tree species, converting it into ecologically valuable mixed forests. The aim is to also implement a mix of cacao and native tree species in some areas and to contribute to the protection of biodiversity and ecosystem restoration, offering animals a new habitat.Plant and Wildlife of the Panama Forests
Plant and Wildlife of the Panama Forests
Panama is a land between two continents, bordering Costa Rica in North America and Colombia in South America, which is thought to have an estimation of at least 50,000 hectares of forests affected by deforestation each year. This is equal to more than 1% of forest destroyed every year. The project itself is spread out all over Panama, with a focus on the eastern side of the country, in the province of Darien, which is one of the provinces where deforestation is increasing most rapidly. To a large extent, deforestation is a result of road construction, industrial gold mining, logging, and the building of farms to grow crops as well as raise cattle. This is done by depleting soil and destroying natural habitats.
The CO2OL Tropical Mix reforestation project aims to create new sustainable forests through re-establishing their ecological value and as a result lessening the risk of deforestation in other regions. For example, one of the first aspects which would be threatened, due to deforestation and degradation, would be the forests important role of protecting and enriching the soil, saving and filtering water, and the high capability of capturing and storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Furthermore, the forests of Panama are essential for the unique variety of plants but also animal life, such as the Ocelot. Ocelots are wild cats commonly present in tropical forests. Deforestation puts Ocelots on the endangered species list, among many others. Panama is also known as a link in the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, which is an area from South and North America. This area is commonly used by species as a bridge for migration. Forests are therefore essential to enable the migration of many species, such as birds, of which many of them are only found within this defined geographical area. Therefore, reforestation and protection of existing forests avoid ecological damage to not only Panama but also to the rest of the North and South American regions. Another one of these wildlife species of concern is the sloth, which are often spotted in the CO2OL Tropical Mix forests and is a frequent visitor at the project locations.
Reforestation Project Benefits
The reforestation project does not only save the Panama forests but also provides other social benefits, particularly for the local population. It has provided employment opportunities for the local community, with 150 jobs provided thus far. Not only do they receive above the legal minimum wage, but they also receive other benefits such as life insurance, an internal credit programme, training and education. This project also provides knowledge-transfer with local indigenous people, leading to a more improved living standard for the communities.
Certified Reforestation Project
Since the project’s establishment, it has become extremely successful. It is currently certified with some of the highest and most acknowledged international climate protection and forestry standards.
The CO2OL Tropical Mix project is one of the first worldwide Gold Standard forestry projects, which is one of the most well respected certification bodies of carbon offset projects, initiated in 2003 by the WWF and other international NGO’s. This certification ensures that the project is actually reducing carbon dioxide emissions and provides benefits to the local population. The project is also the first forestry project to ever successfully complete the Gold Standard “Performance Certification” and has achieved certification by the Forest Stewardship Council as well as UTZ, which stands for more sustainable agriculture.