Those who do not own land can just buy trees. Sherry and Steve Brunner have been growing trees in Costa Rica for more than 25 years. In 1991, the Brunners founded Tropical American Tree Farms.
The company contracts to grow selected species of tropical hardwood trees from seedlings. It keeps 6 percent of customer profits. Customers choose which species they want and, at the time of harvest, can opt to sell the wood or keep it.
Teak, the fastest-growing species, and cocobolo, a rare rosewood, are the most popular trees. Mr. Brunner estimated that $3,600 invested in 100 teak trees would net about $100,000 over 25 years
To date the Brunners have planted 1.5 million trees, and to their surprise, only two of more than 1,000 customers have opted to sell their trees before harvest. Customers have even held on to their trees through death and divorce.
They have not forgotten, Mr. Brunner said, that "the big yield comes at the end."
For more information:
TROPICAL AMERICAN TREE FARMS. Telephone: 1 506 257 5379, or, toll-free from North America, 1 800 788 4918 . Web site: