A serious effort is being made to combat global climate change in the Amazon Rainforest. A new project is aiming to plant 73 million trees across the Amazon in the hope of repairing damaged parts of the rainforest and curbing rising temperatures worldwide.
The project is being led by Conservation International, an international environmental organization. Over the next six years, the group is hoping to bring 73 million new trees to the Amazon and restore 70,000 acres of rainforest. The project has the potential to become the largest tropical reforestation ever.
The Amazon has lost roughly 20% of its area over the last 40 years. Losing even more remains a real possiblity. Continued deforestation will make it more difficult to stop or reverse the effects of climate change. Putting trees back in the Amazon is an important step in the fight against global climate change.
“If the world is to hit the 1.2°C or 2°C target that we all agreed to in Paris, then protecting tropical forests in particular has to be a big part of that,” explains Conservation International CEO M. Sanjayan. “It’s not just the trees that matter, but what kind of trees. If you’re really thinking about getting carbon dioxide out of atmosphere, then tropical forests are the ones that end up mattering the most.”
In its effort to put 73 million trees back in the Amazon, Conservation International is using a new technique called muvuca, which in Portuguese translates to many people in a small place. The technique involves taking seeds from over 200 plant species native to the area and spreading them over land that has been mismanaged or destroyed by deforestation.
The seeds essentially compete with one another, allowing the strongest to sprout into trees. Studies have shown great success with this technique, even without ideal growing conditions.
“After 10 years, you can reach 5,000 trees per hectare,” says Rodrigo Medeiros, who is leading the project on the ground. “It’s much more diverse, much more dense, and less expensive than traditional techniques.”
The project will help Brazil to fulfill its pledge to the Paris Agreement that it will reforest 12 million hectares of rainforest by 2030. More than two million trees have already been planted, and there are already signs of positive improvement in the land.