73 Million Trees Will Be Planted As Part Of The Largest Reforestation Initiative Yet
With the current situation that our world is in at the moment, combating the rise in CO2 levels should be our top priority all across the globe. To date, reforestation is our best bet at lowering these CO2 levels. And in all fairness, there are several programs that are aiming at increasing the number of trees so as to achieve this. One such program is TrumpForest (which actually has nothing to do with the American President directly). Then we have India which initiated some such similar programs of reforestation for their country, and so did Pakistan.
Conservation International is another non-profit that will not embark on the largest reforestation project – based on the tropical rainforest – which is set to plant some 73 million trees in the Amazon, over the following six years.
The reforestation project will take place in Brazil’s so-called “arc of deforestation”, which is a patch of 70,000 acres of cleared land. The hope is to transform this pastureland back into a lush rainforest. Even though people are aware of the importance of the Amazon Rainforest, scientists are concerned about the fact that 20% may still be cut over the following 20 years. This comes as an addition to the already 20% that’s been cut over the past 40 years.
“If the world is to hit the 1.2°C or 2°C (34.16°F or 35.6°F) [degrees of warming] target that we all agreed to in Paris, then protecting tropical forests in particular has to be a big part of that,” M. Sanjayan, CEO of Conservation International, warns. “It’s not just the trees that matter, but what kind of trees. If you’re really thinking about getting carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, then tropical forests are the ones that end up mattering the most.”
Statistics show that, if all deforestation was to stop, forests worldwide would be able to absorb 37% of all the CO2 that we produce. So, in order to make a long-lasting impact, Conservation International has developed a well-researched process to ensure that they will be able to achieve their goal.
Known as muvuca, this planting technique makes use of hundreds of native tree seeds from a wide variety of species found in the jungles to be planted over every sq. foot of the deforested land. This way, the rainforest can replenish itself in a natural way. Anyway, these seeds are from the Xingu Seed Network, which has acted as a native seed supply for over 40 other similar organizations since 2007 onward. This Network employs 400 seed collectors who typically are indigenous women and kids.
The advantage of this seeding technique is that it allows for natural selection to take place by allowing the plants themselves to “decide” which of them is the strongest. A 2014 study by the Food and Agriculture Organization and Biodiversity International found that 90% of the native plants survive by using this technique – which is less expensive and less labour intensive. Muvuca also results in more plants surviving overall than the typical sapling planting method.
“With plant-by-plant reforestation techniques, you get a typical density of about 160 plants per hectare,” shares Rodrigo Medeiros, Conservation International’s vice president of the Brazil program and project lead. “With muvuca, the initial outcome is 2,500 species per hectare. And after 10 years, you can reach 5,000 trees per hectare. It’s much more diverse, much more dense, and less expensive than traditional techniques.”