News & Updates

Brinkman Featured in The Guardian Article: Reviving Land Makes Businesses Grow

Feb
15
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"Five years ago, Jurriann Ruys, a successful partner at management firm McKinsey in Amsterdam, did something his former colleagues could never have predicted. He quit, to help solve the problem of land degradation.

Nearly half of Earth’s forests have been cleared or degraded. This presents many global challenges, including collapsing biodiversity and loss of ecological function."

Read entire article here

Brinkman Featured on Voice of America News: Clear-cuts to Rosewood

Jan
30
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Voice of America journalist Steve Baragona just released an article and video on VOAnews.com, in the Science and Health Section, titled "Report Sees Profit in Restoring Degraded Land," which features the forest restoration work we do.

Report Sees Profit in Restoring Degraded Land, by Steve Baragona Voice of America

"There’s money to be made planting trees, according to a new report. Around the world, an area larger than all of South America has been deforested, eroded, drained or salinized. Governments have pledged billions to restore hundreds of millions of hectares. What’s missing are the businesses to make it happen. ... 

When it comes to planting trees, the Brinkman Group is one of the biggest. Over the last five decades, Brinkman has planted 1.4 billion trees on 1 million hectares of land. The company got its start replanting clear-cut forests in Canada. In the 1990s, it started growing trees on previously slashed-and-burned land in Central America. Brinkman created a diverse forest habitat with a mix of trees, including teak for furniture and flooring and rosewood for guitars. To preserve that habitat, trees would be selectively cut, not clear-cut, at harvest time."

Read the entire article here.

 

Brinkman Profiled in New WRI & TNC Report: “The Business of Growing Trees”

Jan
24
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Brinkman’s forest restoration work has been profiled in a new report released Jan 18th 2018 by World Resources Institute (WRI) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) on the Restoration Economy. The new report, titled The Business of Planting Trees: A Growing Investment Opportunity, shows that “restoring degraded and deforested lands is not only a boon for the environment, but a lucrative opportunity for investors and entrepreneurs. WRI and TNC looked at hundreds of companies – tech startups, consumer goods companies, timber producers, etc. – and selected 14 enterprises to highlight from around the world.”

Having been in “The Business of Planting Trees” for nearing 50 years, it is an honour for us at Brinkman to have been selected as one of 14 leading examples across the globe of successful business in the land restoration economy, and one of only 2 companies showcased as “a ‘one-stop shop’ for restoration” in the Project Management section. The Brinkman profile showcases treeplanting projects across Canada, carbon offset projects in BC, and native species hardwood plantation management projects in Central America, as pointed examples of the various land restoration project types our team of skilled managers have delivered. 

With over 1.4 billion trees planted and over a million hectares restored, having our hands in the soil across this time has taught us how each natural system works together uniquely, supporting and enriching its human communities. Without stewardship, without balance between people and the biosphere, there is no economy. We've learned how to plant a sapling – or an idea – so its roots grow strong and deep.

Brinkman profile excerpt from report:

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business-planting-trees_Brinkman Profile ExcerpPage 1., by WRI & TNC

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business-planting-trees_Brinkman Profile Excerpt, Page 2., by WRI & TNC

Download full report here:

business-planting-trees_0.pdf, by WRI & TNC

 

Flow State, Land Reconciliation, and Gratitude for 2017: Message from the CEO

Jan
1
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Photo: New Millionaire Circle members, Heath Plummer, and Pete Scheiber with Dirk Brinkman (Kitty Ypma photobomb) 
 
Gratitude for 2017: Dirk Brinkman's Christmas celebration speech
 
We are gathered on the unceded territory
of the Squamish, Musqueam and Tseil Waututh territory,
territory that lies on the shores
of the unceded Salish Sea.
 
We choose to gather each year
on, or close to, the longest night.
Martin Luther King said
"Only in the dark, can you see the stars."
 
The solstice is when Earth's axial tilt
turns back again towards the sun,
towards spring, towards life.
 
2017 was the year in which Canada's
Truth and Reconciliation Report
issued its Call to Action.
 
"Reconciliation is a process
of healing relationships
that requires public truth sharing,
apology and commemoration
that acknowledge and redress past harms."
 
We chose to gather here
at the Aboriginal Education Centre,
in 2017, Canada's Year of Reconciliation.
 
The last time I was here
around this fire pit
was just over 25 years ago,
with 21 aboriginal inmates
from BC's prison system.
 
All had been in maximum security
over 12 years, many for longer.
Now in Ferndale's minimum security centre,
their challenge was how to transition
back into society and hopefully,
back into their communities.
 
John Huizinga and Sydney Brannon,
two of our project managers,
had worked them through a program
of our silviculture work in the Fraser Valley
as preparation for their release.
 
Here we were in the Native Education centre
around a fire, with sweet grass ceremonies
drumming, healing, forgiveness and completion
before their release in a few weeks.
But one slipped away, escaped during the ceremony.
 
Working with these young men
gave us a bit of insight into the darkness of
assimilation without consent, of abuse.
It gave us a visceral connection with
the darkness of rage.
How one hurt leads to many others.
 
In our own small way,
we are also in the business of reconciliation.
Not just through our aboriginal partnerships,
but in the unique way of reconciliation
with the land.
 
Fourty nine years ago
I was slashing ahead of the rising waters
of the Bennet Dam in the flooding valleys
of the Findlay River, up by the lngenika.
Witness and abuser in the absolute destruction
of the Findlay, Peace, Parsnip and Nation Valleys.
 
One day I learned something unique
about the ultimate potential of human performance
from my aboriginal friend
Francis Isaac, Tsey Key Chief.
 
A slasher had started a fire in his slash that
threatened to burn up all of our work. 
Francis called me to follow him
and he began to cut a swath
through this tangled randomly felled slash
in a way that was like a mad dance.
He cut each Log with lightning speed,
some sprung free, seemingly in any direction
he anticipated each logs action
stepping out of the way without
without breaking stride with his long saw.
I threw the logs out of the fire break
and we contained the fire.
 
That was the first time I witnessed
a High-Ball Flow-State,
moving impossibly dangerously fast
without fear or hesitation.
 
From that day
I determined to discover high ball falling.
Two years later I welcomed
the opportunity of reconciliation
with the abuse and misuse of land
and the opportunity to adapt highball treeplanting.
 
We have all had moments of flow state.
When time seems to dilate, so
an afternoon goes by like it is five minutes
and each moment seems to slow down like
an eternity.
 
Flow state requires focus and goal
it arises from a clear purpose.
It is that highball flow-state
that is planting one point four billion trees.
It is that highball flow-state
through which we manage constant change.
In remote project environments,
where anything can happen.
 
Flow state gives us extraordinary abilities.
Boosts the immune system,
and overcomes health and physical effects
you might expect, from doing
the hardest work in the world.
 
Tonight we have gathered here
people who work with us
in the reforestation and restoration of the land,
replanting harvests,
restoring developed areas.
 
This is also the path of reconciliation
with the land and the biosphere
on which the peaceful future
of all peoples and on which
all of life, depends.
 
As the abuse of land is exposed
through public truth sharing,
the work of acknowledging
and restoring past harms
will be as important as reconciliation

Pound 4 Pemba 2017: Thank You Planters for the Biggest Year Yet!

Nov
12
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2017 was another landmark year for the Pound 4 Pemba fundraiser. This year 332 planters, staff, and supervisors donated all or a portion of their day's earnings to help vulnerable communities on the Island of Pemba adapt and thrive in the face climate change. Over the years, the fundraiser has grown from the earnest efforts of 1 camp coming together to buy netting for community nurseries, to a company-wide celebration of the culture and spirit of solidarity and generosity that drives positive change. From empowering women with the training and support they need to grow food and start businesses,  to helping farmers transition their land to diverse and resilient food forest systems, Community Forests Internation and the B&A crew have come a long way in growing grassroots change in Pemba. 

Fundraiser Breakdown

This year we raised a total of $41,081.11 in 9 camps in B.C and Ontario this year. That is over 1/4 million trees Pounded for Pemba! With an additional $10,000 generously donated by Brinkman! We also received a very special donation of $1000 from Justin Chingee in honour of incredible friend and fellow planter - the late, great Alex Robertson.

Pound 4 Pemba is a huge part of why Pemban communities continue to thrive and innovate on their island and we can't thank you enough for your incredible support.

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The Final Numbers (photo: Top donors - Tony Hisco's camp near Upsula Ontario raised over $9000 in one day!).

This year, we also challenged the public to match tree planter generosity through our Crowdfunding campaign (still open if you want to share the video or challenge a friend or family member) and courted corporate sponsors to match the tremendous effort of tree planters like you.

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Mbarouk and community members in Micheweni, Pemba restoring coastline with mangrove seedlings in solidarity with Canadian tree planters during Pound for Pemba 2017.

Pound 4 Pemba is how a tree becomes a forest. How our collective efforts are leveraged by the European Union to land $248,630 in Pemba.  How a group of tree planters acting for change becomes a movement halfway around the world.

P.S. I posted some photos from the tour on our Flicker site. If I took a photo of you on the block, that is where it can be found.

From all of us in Canada and Pemba, Asante Sana! Thank You!

Zach Melanson

Co-Founder & Communications Director
Community Forests International

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CFI info graphic.png, by Community Forest International

 

Women’s Empowerment is Critical to the Fight Against Climate Change in Tanzania

Oct
30
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Salume Khamis with her new water tank. Water security is critically important to ensure farmers can grow food throughout the year, increasing food security and resilience to climate change.

Salume Khamis walks up a path between two small adobe houses; one is partially converted into a small store selling dried goods and a few household items. She smiles broadly and greets her teacher, Siti Makame.

When Salume first met Siti two years ago, she had a small garden, no personal income, and her family was eating vegetables only once or twice a week. Like so many other women in rural Tanzania, she was forced to rely on her husband to bring in enough money to support their family – while she gathered fuel, grew food, and cared for their children. Salume was stuck without access to formal education, land, or capital.

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Climate change affects us all, but not all of us equally. A Tanzanian woman fills her bucket from dry streambed during the dry season, Pemba Island, Tanzania

The effects of climate change severely exacerbate the challenges they face as primary providers of household needs. In Tanzania, Women like Salume bear the major responsibility for providing food, water, and energy to households in rural areas and are more dependent on natural resources than men due to unequal access to assets and income. [1]

In addition to adapting to a rapidly changing environment, women also face the systemic challenges of gender-bias and discrimination. Out of the 188 countries listed in the United Nations Gender Inequality Index, Tanzania ranks 129th.  [2]. Of the 84% of women in Tanzania who work, only 58% get paid, and of that 58 %, 13% have no say in how their earnings are spent. [3] This is just the tip of the iceberg on the inequalities women face in Tanzania. If we are to tackle the huge tasks of adapting to climate change and combating poverty, we will have to simultaneously address persistent gender inequality.

Agricultural Officer, Siti Makame trains 30 women on seed saving, water management, and natural pesticide use at the CFP Rural Innovation Campus, Pemba Tanzania

Salume’s teacher Siti is doing her part to challenge this inequality. An agricultural expert and the first person to become a certified permaculture practitioner on the Island of Pemba, Siti is an inspiring mentor to women farmers. She trains hundreds of women a year in climate-resilient agriculture, delivering hands-on training to help them increase their yields while simultaneously diversifying the variety of vegetables they grow.

She also plays a vital role helping women increase their income and independence - under her leadership, 50% of the women participating in Community Forests Pemba (CFP) programs completely control their income, with only 2% reporting they have no control over how they spend their income at all. Well above the national average.[Fig 1]

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Fig.1  - Women (%) who control the income they make from CFP supported sustainable livelihood initiatives.

“Women have to be ready to defend their economic rights. Including their right to own land, to work in any sector, and to hold positions of decision making from village leaders to high government level.” – Siti Makame

As Salume’s garden grew, so did her income and the nutrition of her family – who now eat a variety of vegetables every day. Following Siti’s lead, Salume shared her knowledge with her three sisters and several of her neighbours and began to grow her business.  In the first year, Salume and her sisters used funds from the excess produce they sold to expand to a small farm plot. They then secured a loan to install a well, a header tank, and a pump at their farm. They have also established a small poultry operation and dream of establishing a fishpond.

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Salume’s sisters Fatuma and Fatma on their small farm. The group will be participating in a drip-irrigation pilot project with CFP later this year to help make the most of their investments in water-saving infrastructure.

Empowering rural women economically creates crosscutting benefits by increasing child education, nutrition, and climate change resilience. In order to succeed in meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals and adapt to the negative effects of climate change, it is crucial to stand beside women like Siti and Salume and continue to support women locally as we push for the policy changes that will ensure women have the resources, knowledge, and authority to prosper alongside their families and countries - even in a changing climate.

[1]Climate Governance and Development Case Study: Tanzania.  Dr. Riziki Shemdoe.  (pp.15- 16).

[2] United Nations Development Program: Human Development Reports. 2016. Table 5: Gender Inequality Index.

Planter Psychology 101 By Rhea Szarics

Sep
13
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Post Script:

Hello, I'm Rhea. I've been planting in Ben Bradford's camp in Ontario for the past three years. I draw a lot of cartoons about tree planting (among other things). This series charts the psychological stages of a treeplanter working on bad land. 

 

Las plantaciones de teca en América Latina: Mitos y realidades

Jun
18
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Dear All, Estimados,

Es un gran placer adjuntar un libro recientemente publicado por la FAO y CATIE a nivel internacional donde BARCA participo como autor o coautor (Clementino, Diego y mi persona) en dos capítulos.

Disfruten la lectura.

Por favor mandar a otros interesados que no incluí en la lista de envio.

Saludos

It is a great pleasure to share this difentive teak book that is internationally published by the FAO and CATIE. Key managers of BARCA, Diego Dipieri, and Ricardo Lujan authored two chapters of this book.

Enjoy… (link to book) 

Teca Mitos y Realidades, 2013.pdf, by Diego Dipieri, Ricardo Lujan

 

Alex Robertson, An Account of Our Beloved Friend's Passing: An Unthinkable Threat to Planter Well-being

Mar
3
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By Erik Brinkman

By now many of you know that our good friend and sage colleague Alex Robertson has recently passed away. As a community we are here supporting each other through the immense grief and shock ­­-- shock that BC’s opioid crisis could take someone from our midst who we never would have thought was vulnerable. I am writing this account to honour his memory by shedding some light on the details of the week surrounding his passing as best I can and perhaps his passing can be a learning event for us to help mitigate this tragedy from repeating itself.

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