Jean-Guenole Cornet, a forest and climate expert at the Office Nationale des Forêts, a French state-owned organization, says his organisation has been attempting to halt the progressive deforestation in Colombia.
"The municipalities along the Rio Magdalena were looking for a way out of the traditionally predominant cattle raising and its associated soil erosion, that regularly leads to flooding and crop failures," he said.
Almost 70 farmers are currently planting and looking after the 1561 hectares of woodland as a source of timber for Faber-Castell. They provided part of their land that had previously been used mainly for grazing cattle and they now receive an assured monthly income in return for taking care of the trees. The Gmelina arborea, or “Melina” species is a quick-growing deciduous tree that is particularly suitable for making pencils. The trunks attain a girth of 20 to 25 cm after seven years and after felling the farmers receive 30% of the proceeds from the timber.
“I am very pleased that we can offer the farmers long-term prospects and create jobs in a region marked by severe unemployment," said Count Andreas.
The certificate from the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) will entitle Faber-Castell to deal in emission certificates as part of the Kyoto protocol to reduce world-wide emissions of carbon dioxide.