It is the 20th global development for afforestation according to the guidelines of the Kyoto Protocol. It is a private initiative and is located in Ituzaingó, Corrientes, in an area of 3,400 hectares.

By Maria Laura Balonga

Argentina already has a place among the first 20 global developments of carbon dioxide capture by afforestation. This initiative is in Ituzaingó, northeast of Corrientes, and is the first to be implemented in the country under the Clean Development Mechanism of the framework agreement on Climate Change of the UN.

It is an area of 3,400 hectares, baptized as Santo Domingo project, whose benefits are the elimination of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere according to the guidelines of the Kyoto Protocol and the generation of sustainable forest products: wood.

Since 2007, in Santo Domingo this private afforestation project has been developed with native and exotic species, plus areas that, due to their ecological characteristics, are destined to reserve and protection. Two years after its birth, more than three million trees had already been planted in something like 70% of the total area.

The intention of planting exotic species -like pines, of a commercial value not very high but of great growth- together with the natives of the zone is that there are still places not suitable for the growth of the original varieties and, therefore, it is necessary some sort of help in the initial generation of the forest.

However, over time, they plan to extend the plantation of natives to 75%, such as black, pink and yellow lapacho and the missionary cedar, among others. While the projections for the next 10 years speak of a plantation that reaches the necessary maturity to initiate its commercial exploitation, finding its highest value in the wood generated by the autochthonous species.

In this project, developed by the pharmaceutical company Novartis (in partnership with the Swiss-German forestry company GMF Latin America) and with an estimated total investment of around 13.7 million dollars to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it is expected to capture 100 thousand tons of carbon dioxide during the 2007-2012 period, and it is estimated that by 2040 the sum will grow by 2 and 3 million tons.

To reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, the Kyoto Protocol (commitment to lower 5% in 2012 below 1990 levels) provides a mechanism that allows industrialized countries to invest in sustainable development projects of developing countries, as in this case did Novartis in Argentina.

Thus, tradable emission rights credits are generated for those who implement these projects. These credits are called carbon credits or green bonds and reward the industrial use of clean technologies that help to slow the process of global warming of the planet.