We support their mission of profitable, socially-responsible forestry.
Washington, DC (PRWEB) September 27, 2012
Canopy Tower Family, a Panama-based ecotourism company, announced today that they have made a significant investment in Planting Empowerment, a socially responsible forestry company. The investment will enable Planting Empowerment to expand its operations in Panama’s Darien province, where it has been growing tropical hardwoods for the past six years.
“We invested in Planting Empowerment because we support their mission of profitable, socially-responsible forestry”, said Raul Arias de Para, Canopy Tower Family's founder. “They fit our own business well because we both have an interest in managing natural resources more sustainably and conserving virgin forests. They’re reforesting native tree species in some of the most environmentally sensitive areas in Panama, but also keeping the land in the hands of the local indigenous communities and small farmers. It’s more sustainable in the long run.”
Damion Croston, Operations Director for Planting Empowerment, commented “We lease those plots of land from local communities and reforest with mixed tropical hardwoods and crops. Planting Empowerment’s model provides income, replenishes the soil, grows food, and cultivates high value tropical timber.”
As elsewhere in Latin America, Panama’s natural resources are under constant pressure from logging and subsistence agriculture, which rural farmers depend on to feed their families. Cattle ranching also accelerates deforestation, leading to loss of biodiversity, soil erosion and spread of non-native grasses. Unsustainable management of natural resources threatens biodiversity in Panama, and the long term growth prospects for local communities. Farmers either have to commit more resources to getting the same amount of production from their land, or they move on to a new plot of rainforest.
With the Canopy Tower Family investment, Planting Empowerment will expand its operations and profile in Panama as a forestry company with a strong socially-responsible component. “They’re not the largest forestry company in Panama by far” noted Raul Arias de Para, “but they have been growing steadily over the past six years, and I think they’ll continue to grow as more investors recognize that their profit and sustainability goals go hand-in-hand.”
About Planting Empowerment
Founded in 2006, Planting Empowerment is a private, Washington, DC-based company with forestry operations in Panama. Planting Empowerment works in partnership with rural communities in Panama to grow tropical hardwoods and promote sustainable land use. As the first forestry company in Panama to work through a land lease model, Planting Empowerment has 60 acres of trees under management on land owned by local farmers and communities.