Afforestation in Para, Brazil

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Summary:
Critical Statistics:
  1. "One Billion Trees for the Amazon," located in the Brazilian state of Para, is one of the world's largest reforestation efforts (SAGRI 2009).

  2. The end goal is to plant one billion trees on deforested land by 2013 (Xinhua 2009).

  3. The project encompasses 143 municipalities (Xinhua 2009).

  4. The government is working with 120,000 agricultural producers to transform their fields back to forest (Xinhua 2009).

  5. Some 480 million of the trees will be planted by the partnership of businesses, government, and social organizations (Soares 2008).

  6. Large companies, such as the Vale do Rio Doce mining company, will plant 520 million of the trees (Soares 2008).

  7. The national government is providing $600 million (USD) in subsidies, which represent a large portion of the project's funding (Soares 2008).

  8. There is a potential for "One Billion Trees for the Amazon" to reduce global levels of greenhouse gases by some 5 percent, until the year 2030 (SAGRI 2008; SEMA 2008).

Causes:
  1. The main driver behind this project is the government's desire to replenish part of the Amazon rainforest, as 90 percent Para's land has been deforested (SEMA 2008).

  2. According to Valmir Gabriel Ortega, the Secretary of State of the Environment in Para, the stated desire of the project is to "consolidate the image of Para as guardian and restorer of the Amazon Rainforest" (Soares 2008).

  3. Additionally, this project is seen by the government as a potential avenue to "foster environmental registration of rural properties, starting a serious land legalization campaign, thereby turning squatter lands into legal, taxable properties" (Soares 2008).

  4. This effort is also seen as a way for the government to "restore legal and permanent environmental reserves in Para," so that local ecology can rebound in areas that are not to be disturbed by people (Soares 2008).

  5. The desire to develop a new economic model for the Amazon forest that would be more sustainable than current practices is an additional driver for this effort (Soares 2008).

Impacts:
  1. The desired impact is to turn large areas of deforested land back to forest, and has been fairly successful up to this point, though exact figures are hard to come by (Soares 2008).

  2. The project has allowed for significant levels of carbon sequestration (Soares 2008).

  3. There has been some success in the economic sector, as the local economy has shifted somewhat away from unsustainable agricultural practices into more environmentally sustainable techniques as well as reforestation itself becoming a viable economic activity (Chomitz 2006).

  4. Much of the local biodiversity has been saved and even enhanced, as a result of this project. Had it not taken place, the plants and animals would potentially been lost due to continued and increased deforestation (Chhatre and Agrawal 2008).

  5. There are now stronger political and economic connections between locals, companies, as well as state and national government agencies due to this project (Soares 2008).

What is Next:
  1. Success for this venture will come by continuing the program until the goal of one billion planted trees is reached (Laurence et al. 2004).

  2. The government needs to continue to financially incentivize the planting of trees (Laurence et al. 2004).

  3. The government as well as NGOs need to continue to encourage farmers to use more sustainable agricultural practices so that the benefits from this program can be fully realized (Laurence et al 2004).

  4. Government officials need to continue to enforce regulations, for example the disbursement of funds, related to the project's participants (Soares 2008).

Citations:
  1. "Brazil Launches Program to Plant 1 Billion Trees in the Amazon." Xinhua News Agency, CEIS. 30 May 2008. http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1409361/brazil_launches_program_to_... (last accessed 20 October 2009)

  2. Chhatre, A., and A. Agrawal. 2008. Forest commons and local enforcement. PNAS 105(36): 13286-91.

  3. Chomitz, K et al. (2006) At Loggerheads: agricultural expansion, poverty reduction and the environment. The World Bank, Washington DC

  4. Laurence, William F., A.K. Albernaz, P.M. Fearnside, H.L. Vasconcelos, and L.V. Ferreira. 2004. Deforestation in Amazonia. Science 304: 1109.

  5. SAGRI (Secretaria de Estado de Agricultura). www.sagri.pa.gov.br (last accessed 20 October 2009)

  6. Soares, Renata. 2008. "Para Case: 'One Billion Trees for the Amazon.'" University of Michigan Dissertations, http://hdl.handle.net/2027.42/61368 (last accessed 20 October 2009)

  7. SEMA, Secretaria De Estado Do Meio Ambiente, www.sectam.pa.gov.br/ (last accessed 20 October 2009)