The largest tropical reforestation effort in history aims to restore 73 million trees in the Brazilian Amazon by 2023.
The multimillion dollar, six-year project, led by Conservation International, spans 30,000 hectares of land—the equivalent of the size of 30,000 soccer fields, or nearly 70,000 acres.
The effort will help Brazil move towards its Paris agreement target of reforesting 12 million hectares of land by 2030.
The Amazon is the world’s largest rainforest, home to indigenous communities and an immense variety and richness of biodiversity. The latest survey detailed 381 new species discovered in 2014-2015 alone. The fate of the Amazon depends on getting this right—as do the region’s 25 million residents, its countless species and the climate of our planet. The reforestation project fills an urgent need to develop the region’s economy without destroying its forests and ensuring the well-being of its people.
Instead of planting saplings—which is labor- and resource-intensive—the reforestation effort will involve the “muvuca” strategy, a Portuguese word that means many people in a small place.
The strategy involves the spreading of seeds from more than 200 native forest species over every square meter of deforested land and allowing natural selection to weed out the weaker plants.
A 2014 study by the Food and Agriculture Organization and Bioversity International found that the muvuca technique allowed more than 90 percent of native tree species planted to germinate. Not only that, they especially resilient and suited to survive drought conditions for up to six months.
The restoration effort include southern Amazonas, Rondônia, Acre, Pará and the Xingu watershed. Restoration activities will include the enrichment of existing secondary forest areas, sowing of selected native species, and, when necessary, direct planting of native species