July 17, 2017

A leaf from:

This Broken Land of Promise:

A Chronicle of Conservation in the Hispaniolan Border Country

For the first time in its eleven year history, the Tree Bank has a reasonably authoritative list of tree species native to our program area — a list that is sturdy, adaptable, and practical. It’s far from comprehensive but it’s probably representative — and we can extend it and refine it as we work.

The new list supersedes a much smaller one that was simply a record of which species we had thus far managed to propagate. The old list was not developed as a project in its own right, nor was it a tool for directing our propagation work.

We created the new list with the help of two key witnesses to our area’s forests: a professional botanist who studies the Domini...

July 6, 2017

A leaf from:

This Broken Land of Promise:

A Chronicle of Conservation in the Hispaniolan Border Country

I see this as an unavoidable question, given the nature of our work and the era in which we live.

My short answer is yes. We plant thousands of trees every year on lands that are mostly deforested, so we are increasing the amount of carbon stored in those lands. This happens because the trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow.

So far, so good. Next question: are tree-planting programs a remedy for climate change?

My short answer to this is no. Here are four reasons why not.

1. Forests have a limited appetite for carbon.

Young forests absorb carbon rapidly, but eventually the forest’s metabolism changes in several important ways: tree-growth s...

June 20, 2017

A leaf from:

This Broken Land of Promise:

A Chronicle of Conservation in the Hispaniolan Border Country

Twenty-eight of our partner farmers recently planted a cacao grove in the Tree Bank’s Nature Reserve. The planting took place on June 8.

Cacao is the little, understory tree whose seeds are used to make cocoa and chocolate. Its scientific name is Theobroma cacao.  “Theobroma” is Greek for “food of the gods.” A divine confection! “Cacao” is from the Nahuatl word for . . . cacao. Nahuatl was the language of the Aztecs.

Cacao is not native to Hispaniola. Its original range seems to have been part of the Yucatán peninsula and possibly farther south, here and there, through the lowland forests of Central America. So it’s not native — but it’s definitely not invasiv...

June 13, 2017

We are very pleased to announce that the Earth Sangha has once again been named “one of the best” small charities in the DC region by the Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington.

The Catalogue focuses on small nonprofits (those with budgets under $3 million), because the Catalogue believes in their power to spark big change. As the only locally-focused guide to giving, the Catalogue’s goal is to create visibility for the best community-based charities, fuel their growth with philanthropic dollars, and create a movement for social good in the greater Washington region. The Catalogue charges no fees; it raises funds separately to support its work.

Since its inception 15 years ago, the Catalogue has raised $38 million for nonprofits in the region. It also...

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