Restoring Ecosystem Health

Restoring Ecosystem HealthAn entire ecosystem can thrive only when all contributing elements—earth and water, flora and fauna, air and climate, wildlife and humans—achieve a harmonious balance. This delicate balance has been disturbed—some even say, undone—by human action and inaction, resulting in devastating climate change, loss of soil and habitat, depleted aquifers, rivers, lakes and oceans. Collaborative partnerships between socially responsible business, environmental education, science, research and economics are making significant progress toward undoing the damage and restoring health to our planet.

The Earth PartnersThe Earth Partners

Developing ecosystem restoration and climate change mitigation projects Putting an economic value on environmental assets makes it easier for business and industry to rationalize eco-friendly practices—and creates fundamental environmental change in the process. The Earth Partners is a global leader in delivering land-based climate change mitigation and ecosystem restoration projects that generate “conservation biomass,” carbon credits, wetland mitigation credits and other environmental services revenue streams. The Earth Partners restores, conserves and protects ecosystems, while also reducing and sequestering greenhouse gas emissions. Conservation biomass, riparian restoration, invasive species eradication and soil restoration are key areas of concentration. The engineers, scientists, financers and other experts who make up The Earth Partners are currently engaged in projects in Latin America, Canada, and the U.S. Will founded The Earth Partners and serves as a board member.

Restoring Our WatershedRestoring Our Watershed

Restoring a degraded coastal watershed from mountain top to mangroveRestoring Our Watershed (ROW) is a non-profit organization that has been active in the Nandamojo River Valley of Guanacaste, Costa Rica since 2001. ROW's mission is to restore the 28,000-acre watershed’s hydrology and to reinvigorate sustainable local food systems. By reestablishing a healthy and resilient ecosystem that is functioning in balance with human communities and economic realities, ROW is striving to demonstrate a model for watershed-based sustainable development that can be replicated throughout the dry tropical forest. Recent initiatives have included the planting of riparian buffer zones, erosion abatement, ridge-to-reef wildlife corridors, and specific projects to protect the area’s sea turtles, howler monkeys and native birds. An innovative scheme to plant "agroforestry belts" on local cattle farms will reduce soil erosion and surface runoff and improve biodiversity, while allowing landowners to continue to use their farms productively. Can reforestation, new sustainable farming and conservation land development restore the perennial flow of the Nandamojo River and help triple the Estero Congo mangrove to its original size? Will founded ROW and is board chair.

Mi TierraMi Tierra at Tierra Pacifica

Converting tropical organic wastes to natural fertilizers Fallen mangoes that littered the Guanacaste community soccer field—and posed a hazard to the players and fans—are now an important source of nitrogen for the compost mix at Mi Tierra nursery and farm. This composting operation is also employing biochar, a valuable soil amendment produced in a low-heat combustion process. Biochar stabilizes carbon in the organic matter that grows during Costa Rica's wet season. When mixed into the soil, it improves tilth and provides a long-term source important plant nutrients. Compost and biochar are vital to restoring the fertility of soils in a tropical, wet/dry climate. The goal is to develop decentralized composting and biochar sites throughout the Nandamojo watershed. Will founded Mi Tierra.

Pueblo VerdePueblo Verde

A "forest farm" conservation development Residents of the 15-lot Pueblo Verde conservation development embrace sustainable living on every level. Located in a 500-acre ecological reforestation project in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste province, near the Pacific Ocean, Pueblo Verde features green building practices— trees from the land became timber for its homes—and landscaping that integrates with and strengthens the natural surroundings plus grows food for residents. Pueblo Verde is a model for environmental land development, utilizing careful, ecological and conscientious practices to restore biodiversity, replenish soils, recharge aquifers and create jobs in a vibrant oceanside farming community. The development lies within the Nandamojo watershed, and supports the efforts of the local non-profit organization Restoring Our Watershed. Agro-ecologist Tom Peifer and Will Raap envisioned and created this conservation development, which is also a model for regional social enterprise and sustainable business.

Tierra PacificaTierra Pacifica

Costa Rica's premier ecological development The 220-acre Tierra Pacifica ecological development, located in the Guanacaste province of Costa Rica, provides homeowners and condominium residents with many opportunities to practice sustainable living. The low-density green development features a 10-acre organic farm and nursery, Finca Mi Tierra, and the largest commercial center between Tamarindo and Nosara, Plaza Tierra Pacifica. Area residents may purchase Mi Tierra's organic fruits and vegetables at the Plaza and local farmers markets and restaurants. Tierra Pacifica was designed to harmonize with the local landscape and ecology, and incorporated strategies to retain storm water and manage wetlands, reduce erosion, restore damaged and depleted soils, and restore native habitat including a bordering mangrove estuary. Will is one of the Tierra Pacifica developers and is now leading the development of the Plaza Tierra Pacifica commercial center to create an economic development hub for the region.

Reforest TeakReforest Teak

Fine teak furniture from sustainably managed forests Reforest Teak, based in Burlington, Vt. and Costa Rica, is a manufacturer and online retailer of quality outdoor furniture, planters, lumber and flooring. All products are completely handmade in Central America by local craftspeople with a time-honored tradition of fine woodworking. All profits support ecological reforestation efforts in the region. Reforest Teak works jointly with a Costa Rican manufacturing partner and ecological reforestation leader to manage its multi-species tropical hardwood plantations for long term quality of the forest, forest products, and entire ecosystem. Will and his son Dylan developed and operate Reforest Teak.

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