Campaign Will Support Tree Planting Efforts in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil
Today, The Nature Conservancy launched the “Plant a Billion Trees Campaign” at www.plantabillion.org to restore and plant one billion trees by 2015 in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, one of the greatest repositories of biodiversity on Earth.
“This is an unprecedented effort − nothing on this scale has ever been attempted in a single country in South America,” said Stephanie Meeks, acting president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy. “No tropical forest on Earth has come closer to total destruction than Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, and now we have a real chance to bring this region back from the brink.”
The Atlantic Forest once spanned across eastern Brazil, northern Argentina and eastern Paraguay, an area twice the size of Texas. Yet today, more than 93 percent of the forest has been cleared to accommodate Brazil’s rapid development and support the region’s 130 million residents, 70 percent of Brazil’s population.
Although the remaining 7 percent is highly fragmented, these last stands of lush forest harbor one of the greatest repositories of biodiversity on Earth.
Just a small fraction of the size of the great Amazon rainforest, the Atlantic Forest is home to 1,180 vertebrate species – mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fish, and birds – representing 5 percent of the vertebrates on Earth. More than 800 of those species are unique to the Atlantic Forest, and more than 60 percent of all of Brazil’s threatened animals call this forest home.
Sponsored by Penguin Classics and Planet Green, the new multimedia content initiative that includes the first-ever 24-hour television network dedicated solely to green lifestyle programming, the Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees Campaign will support efforts to restore and plant one billion native trees on 2.5 million acres and connect more than 12 million acres of new forest corridors in the Atlantic Forest − in the next seven years.
The Conservancy’s Atlantic Forest Program will work with a strong coalition of diverse Brazilian and international partners to reconnect forest fragments through intensive and large-scale reforestation, create economic incentives for conservation, implement sustainable use of natural resources, and create effective protection of public and private reserves.
“This is an important milestone in The Nature Conservancy’s commitment to restore forests worldwide, just as we are committed to restoration of longleaf pine forests here in Florida like our Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve,” said Jeff Danter, state director of The Nature Conservancy in Florida.
On the campaign’s web site, www.plantabillion.org, visitors can learn more about the project, explore the Atlantic Forest through an interactive map highlighting the people, plants and animals of this spectacular region, get involved by telling friends, or downloading a widget to raise awareness and funds on social networks like Facebook and MySpace. Visitors can also plant a tree by donating to the campaign – just one dollar can make a real difference.
To help save paper, each tree donor will receive an online acknowledgement as well as e-updates on the campaign and the Atlantic Forest throughout the year.
Other partners include Panasonic, which will plant a tree for each customer who selects The Nature Conservancy in their “Giving Back” program, and Organic Bouquet, which will donate 10 percent for every flower and gift purchased during the month of April at www.organicbouquet.com/nature. The Conservancy is also coordinating with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), which has launched a global campaign to count and promote tree reforestation efforts around the world, and will work with others to fulfill a pledge of planting more than 25 million trees as part of UNEP’s campaign.
To learn more about The Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees Campaign, visit: www.plantabillion.org.