From: Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
Published August 22, 2017 11:26 AM

Orange is the New Green: How Orange Peels Revived a Costa Rican Forest

In the mid-1990s, 1,000 truckloads of orange peels and orange pulp were purposefully unloaded onto a barren pasture in a Costa Rican national park. Today, that area is covered in lush, vine-laden forest.

A team led by Princeton University researchers surveyed the land 16 years after the orange peels were deposited. They found a 176 percent increase in aboveground biomass — or the wood in the trees — within the 3-hectare area (7 acres) studied. Their results are published in the journal Restoration Ecology.

This story, which involves a contentious lawsuit, showcases the unique power of agricultural waste to not only regenerate a forest but also to sequester a significant amount of carbon at no cost.

“This is one of the only instances I’ve ever heard of where you can have cost-negative carbon sequestration,” said Timothy Treuer, co-lead author of the study and a graduate student in Princeton’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. “It’s not just a win-win between the company and the local park — it’s a win for everyone.”

Read more at Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

Image: A thousand truckloads of orange peels were unloaded onto a barren pasture in a Costa Rican national park in the mid 1990s. Today, that area is covered in lush, vine-laden forest. (Credit: Photos courtesy of Daniel Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs)

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