Brazil Begins Effort to Plant 73 Million Trees in the Amazon
written by Jason Daley for the Smithsonian
In order to support their weak economy, Brazil began cutting down trees from the Amazon Rain Forest in the 1970’s to provide land for cattle and Agriculture. Though this may have increased Brazil’s export of beef, soybeans, and coffee it also resulted in major Environmental concerns such as losses in Biodiversity, and increases in Carbon emission (Fearnside).
However, recently new efforts have been proposed to help protect the Amazon, and allow it to expand to it previous extents. Last Fall Brazil announced a plan which included the planting of 73 million trees in the Amazon, which is the most extensive tropical replantation effort in history (Daley). The main issue at hand when formulating this plan was the amount of money it would cost to buy, and plant so many trees. The solution is a new technique called Muvuca, which involves the collection of seeds from native trees and depositing them in dense networks (Daley). Although the use of Muvuca is completely experimental the vice president of Conservation International’s Brazil program, Rodrigo Medeiros, states, “With plant-by-plant reforestation techniques, you get a typical density of about 160 plants per hectare. With Muvuca, the initial outcome is 2,500 trees per hectare”(Daley). This Proposes Muvuca as a very effective technique; however, those 2,500 trees are in reality just seeds with the potential to become trees. This is where the risk lies, within the Muvuca technique. Additionally, resulting from objectives of the Paris Accord Brazil has announced its efforts to restore 12 million hectares of the Amazon. Due to its position as the initial step of Brazil’s massive proposal, much importance has been placed on the Muvuca experiment.
Studies have shown Second-Growth Forests (younger than 60 years) to have remarkable abilities to consume vast abundances of Carbon. With Brazil as one of the planet’s leaders in deforestation, a successful implementation of their recent proposal could drop global carbon emission’s significantly. The discontinuing of deforestation alone could decrease carbon emissions by up to 37%, with even larger decreases with the regrowth of forests (Daley). Unfortunately, results such as this are unlikely because Brazil hasn’t taken enough action in stopping deforestation with 25 million acres of deforestation occurring annually.
Time-lapse of deforestation in Brazil
The proposal has resulted in a lot of hype within environmental media that is, for the most part, encouraging in this Article. Muvuca is proposed as a cheaper and more effective technique than the conventional replanting of previously grown saplings. The article displays this by not only providing Muvuca’s promising potential from credible sources but also exposes some of the weaknesses of conventional replanting. One way Daley did this was by explaining how not all previously grown saplings survive the process of being replanted. The only negative response to Brazil’s conservation efforts was the experimental design of the usage of Muvuca, and the nature of experiments to have uncertain results.
It appears as though a political battle is waging in Brazil between its President, Michel Temer and Conservational organizations such as the Brazilian Ministry of Environment. President Temer has found economic success by building dams and increasing the nations mining efforts, but at what cost (Staff). The land in which mining and dam construction are occurring used to be part of the Amazon Rain Forest. Additionally, last August Temer issued a decree to dissolve a 4.6 million hectare national reserve for mining. Fortunately, the decree was so unpopular throughout the country that it was revoked.
Daley, Jason. “Brazil Begins Effort to Plant 73 Million Trees in the Amazon.” Smithsonian, https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/brazil-begins-effort-plant-73-million-trees-amazon-180967086/. Accessed 13 Feb. 2018.
Fearnside, Philip M. “Deforestation in Brazilian Amazonia: History, Rates, and Consequences.” Conservation Biology, vol. 19, no. 3, June 2005, pp. 680–88. Wiley Online Library, doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2005.00697.x.
Marguerita, Choy. “Brazil Opens Vast National Reserve to Mining.” Reuters, 23 Aug. 2017. Reuters, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-brazil-mining/brazil-opens-vast-national-reserve-to-mining-idUSKCN1B32A5.