Carbon Analysis

Carbon Analysis

Carbon Footprint Analysis

In this section we discuss the “carbon footprint” associated with travelling to the amazon to participate in our (near future) reforestation tourism program [1][2]. But at the outset here, to those that would immediatey scoff at such proposition simply because, yes, this does involve air travel, we respectfully argue — you do not undertsatnd the bigger picture here.

Understand the amazon region is extremely economically depressed [3]. Even before the pandemic this was the case, but now it is much worse. As a consequence there are some here in Brazil calling for much higher levels of resource extraction (minerals, logging) and expansion of industrial agriculture (esp. soya). And this is occuring – with record rates of deforestation seen in 2022. See this recent article in Guardian.

And this will continue to increase, unless we find alternate “green” forms of economic development. 

We see our reforestation tourism initiative as one way to bring capital and economic opportunities to this region — and in a manner that improves forest restoration, conservation, and sustainable development. Yes there is a carbon footprint associated with air travel to get here – lets take a look at that.

[1] We have a plan to implement this, and have already made numerous connections with people here that can help us. If you like the idea and can help financially, please do.

[2] Reforestation Tourism is the provision of guided and professionally led courses, workshops and excursions focusing on topics that advance the restoration and protection of native ecosystems in the Amazon, and on topics that allow communities to live in balance and harmony with the forest. As such a wide range of activities are included; from seed collection in the forest (with indigenous guides), work in our plant nursery, and of course tree planting – to, for example, assisting with the installation of an advanced solar power system for an agroforestry-based community. All these things will be important. Participants will also be encouraged to share their expertise in a two-way learning process. All of this will of course be detailed in a colorful brochure available in several languages.

[3] Not like British Columbia and Canada as a whole, where our economy is absolutely bursting with money – in very large part due to our extensive oil, gas, mining and other extraction industries.


There are several sites on the internet that offer a calculator for determing the carbon footprint of flights, here are the results from three of them. This analysis is for a return flight from Vancounver, Canada (YVR) to Santarém, Brazil (STM, 35 km from Alter do Chão, distance 8670 km), via Sao Paulo (GRU, this is the route you would most likely take). Flights from northern Europe would be about the same as, although slightly further (STM to Stockholm, Sweden = 9270 km), more direct routes to the Amazon via Fortaleza in north-east Brazil are available.

These sites calculate carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions, which can be converted to Carbon (C) emissions by multiplying by 0.273. Note: tonnes below are metric tonnes = 1000 kg = 1 megagram (Mg). claims to be the web’s leading carbon footprint calculatior. calculator result = 3.81 tonnes CO2 (1.04 tonnes C).

See site here. is a Switzerland-based foundation that claims to consist of experts in sustainablity and climate protection. calculator result = 4.6 tonnes CO2 (1.26 tonnes C).

See site here.

International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

The IACO is a United Nations specialized agency that oversees the international civil aviation industry. ICAO calculator result = 1.4 tonnes CO2 (0.38 tonnes C)[4].

See site here.

Note the much lower value determined by the ICAO calculator. This calculator appears to only consider the fuel burned by the aircraft, when of course the total enery footprint of air travel is much greater than this. Based on the three-fold difference between the ICAO calculator and the others, its seems the latter two do consider this bigger picture.


We will assume the highest carbon emissions value generated above is the one to consider when assessing the carbon footprint associated with traveling to the amazon (1.26 tonnes C for a round trip journey from Canada).

This is a substantial amount of carbon. But realize that reforesting one hectare deforested land in the amazon can lead to the capture 150 tonnes or more of carbon. See article on carbon storage in tropical forest here.

In fact, just a single tree, once established and allowed to grow to maturity, could capture all the emissions from such a journey. 

Realize also that by participating in ACRAA’s reforestation tourism program you will not only be making a direct contribution through your time here, but also a large indirect contribution as the fee you pay for this program will support our other project activites.

Your presence here, as highly environmentally minded tourists, will also help to grow and promote a conservation ethic in this region. The money you spend on hotels, food and beverages, and just having fun – will help to create jobs and provide an input of capital to the region. In fact, spending money here on these things will actually be good for the forest.

In the end if a full analysis is done, and we do intend to attempt this, your travel to the amazon to help us will likely end up being carbon-negative – i.e., result, over the years following this adventure, in more carbon capture by forest than was emitted by the air travel to get here.

But in addition to supporting ACRAA’s programs, people in the wealthier nations of the world need to lobby thier governments to invest in the Amazon. Not just millions – but Billions. This support for projects and programs that promote forest protection and restoration, agroforestry development, and the protection of indigenous rights in the amazon [5]. In exchange for this Brazil needs to provide verifiable garantees that forest based values are being protected.

These weathier nations should do this not only out of a concern for this region’s people and biodiversity – but out of real self-interest now as well. This because the science is clearly showing us that the Amazon forest, along with other forests of the moist equatorial zone — is a key global climate regulator.

Below are links to two very recent articles, one in the world’s most prestigous journal, Nature, that highlight this very point.

Article in Nature (April 2022) – “Tropical forests have big climate benefits beyond carbon storage”

Article by CNN (April 2022) – “Crucial tropical forests were destroyed at a rate of 10 soccer fields a minute last year”

[4] The ICAO carbon emissions calcultor does not include destinations in Brazil. A value for this calculator for the YVR to STM (return) trip was therefore determined by entering a YVR to LHR (London Heathrow) trip for all three calculators, and then interpolating a value for the ICAO calculator based on the differences.

[5] And also just to help rebuild the highly degraded infastructure here.