Groasis

In October 2016 Pieter Hoff’s company Groasis was awarded National Icon by the Dutch Government. His invention – the Growboxx® plant cocoon – is considered one of the 3 most innovative projects of the Netherlands. In 2008, he published “CO2, a gift from heaven”, which he later renamed to “The Treesolution”. In this book he promotes the concept of creating wealth through dissimilation of CO2 into valuable carbon products through agroforestry.

The Treesolution, in its essence, is a multi-faceted agroforestry approach to resolve a number of linked global problems including climate change, soil degradation, food scarcity, unemployment, associated poverty and rural-urban migration rates.One of the main principles behind the Treesolution is to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide levels by the sequestration of carbon in the longer lasting soil carbon pools. By large-scale reforestation and afforestation, agroforestry can be implemented as a conduit to transfer carbon from the atmospheric pool to the pedological pool, while also increasing terrestrial biomass. At the same time, these systems sustain many ecosystem services such as increasing species diversity, enhancing wildlife habitats, fostering natural food webs, fostering water infiltration, improving soil and ecosystem health, augmenting long-term carbon sequestration. Additionally, agroforestry systems are able to provide a range of products, such as food, fodder, timber, fuel, and pollen for bees, hereby creating employment and wealth.

Agroforestry has been demonstrated since the 1990’s to be a promising mechanism of carbon sequestration in India, Mexico, Russia, Canada and sub-Saharan Africa amongst others. Afforestation and reforestation have been recognized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as an allowable method of carbon sequestration for carbon offset activities. Because of the interconnection with food production, rural poverty, and environmental degradation, agroforestry is regarded as an overall sustainable method benefiting both humans and nature. Large-scale agroforestry will create employment in the agricultural sector, resulting in increased food production and a reduction in the rural-urban migration rate. This is especially poignant for farmers in developing countries who are affected by poverty and soil degradation.

A large problem of agroforestry practices in areas where groundwater levels are low,such as arid climates or on degraded land, has always been the need for uneconomical water management systems such as drip-irrigation. This, in combination with the water stress of many countries as reported by the United Nations, shows the need for innovations. More than 1.5 billion people live in climates dependent on some kind of agroforestry system and desertification is experienced on 33% of the global land surface, estimated to affect more than one billion people.

Previously, the reforestation of degraded arid soil was not economically viable since irrigation costs inhibited large-scale roll-out. With the help of [BEBR], mr. Hoff recently introduced a low cost solution. The Growboxx® plant cocoon is a plantation tool designed to circumvent expensive irrigation use. If trees are planted and grown with the Growboxx® plant cocoon, a reduction in water use of up to 90% is seen when compared to traditional systems11. Moreover, survival rates in excess of 95% have been realized using this tool. Effectively, deployment of the Growboxx® plant cocoon gives way to a realization of the Treesolution.