BaumInvest: Sounds ambitious!
Homola: But it’s possible. And considering climate change, also of the highest priority.
BaumInvest: As a forestry expert, how do you assess the use of tree species in our forests?
Homola: First of all, I was impressed by how many measurement plots have been set up. On those, the various mixtures and tree species are being studied with regard to different locations. We can only progress with accompanying studies like this. That’s why it’s also possible to plant exotics like teak, for example, even if they occasionally cause problems, such as fungus. Otherwise, it is of course even better to use native tree species, some of which I haven’t heard of before – such as Cebo, Corteza or Botarrama. I was also pleased to discover plantations of mahogany at Finca San Rafael – a very valuable and promising tree species that is native to Central America.
BaumInvest: We assume you were accompanied on your forays through our forests, right?
Homola: There was always at least one forester there to show me around. Since I speak Spanish almost fluently, I was able to have long conversations with the forest manager Pablo Angulo, for example – always at eye level, always with flat hierarchies. I didn’t want to impose anything on anyone, I just wanted to be there in an advisory capacity, give tips and get an idea of my function as a member of the supervisory board.
BaumInvest: Last year, you and a team prepared the forestry report in relation to the new BaumInvest in-house management structure on site in Costa Rica. What is there to say one year after the preparation of the report?
Homola: Last September, we prepared a report, in which we had listed deficiencies in practical forest management, for example shortcomings in delimbing and thinning measures, especially for pioneer tree species. Now, however, we saw that these things were being actively addressed. Some “future trees” are finally getting the amount of light they need to grow. We are on the right track with our own structure, but it will take two to three years to completely eliminate the cultivation deficits. But I’m not worried about that. The team on site is extremely motivated – and personally, I have really enjoyed working with the forestry team.
BaumInvest: Then why don’t you get on board?
Homola (laughs): I’m happy to be involved as a consultant and advisor. It is a real pleasure to accompany a project like BaumInvest, and to see the developments. I don’t get involved in the operational side of things; the employees here and on site do that in a very professional and well thought-out way. What particularly impressed me, if I may mention this briefly, is the way that ideas and observations of each forester, and also other employees, are heard and valued. That’s outstanding to me; it’s the only way the forests and projects actually develop. It also creates a stronger sense of community.