Their study, published in Restoration Ecology, revealed an amazing 176 percent increase in biomass in the 3-hectare (7-acre) area studied. The difference between forest covered in orange peel and that which was not was huge. The orange peel-covered soil was richer, there was more forest canopy closure, and a greater number of tree species.
Not only did the agricultural waste revive the forest, it sequestered a serious amount of carbon, all for free.
“This is one of the only instances I’ve ever heard of where you can have cost-negative carbon sequestration,” said Treuer. “It’s not just a win-win between the company and the local park – it’s a win for everyone.”
Which goes to show, those researchers were right back in the ‘90s, and they’re still right now.
“Plenty of environmental problems are produced by companies, which, to be fair, are simply producing the things people need or want,” said study co-author David Wilcove. “But an awful lot of those problems can be alleviated if the private sector and the environmental community work together. I’m confident we’ll find many more opportunities to use the ‘leftovers’ from industrial food production to bring back tropical forests. That’s recycling at its best.”