The direct relationship between ecosystem health and our own has perhaps never been this salient. An exploitation-based relationship with nature contributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and increases our vulnerability to other novel diseases. We need to demonstrate new models for a new relationship with nature, where society invests in environmental health while at the same time providing economic opportunities for local communities.
We are excited to announce a new project, supported by the Arbor Day Foundation, to plant one million trees and strengthen Indigenous livelihoods in the Brazilian Amazon.
Deforestation rates are significantly lower in forests controlled by Indigenous Peoples, even compared to government-controlled reserves. But Indigenous communities face great challenges in defending their forests from illegal intrusions and accessing economic opportunities.
The Arbor Day Foundation and Forest Trends’ Communities and Territorial Governance Initiative, working in direct partnership with indigenous communities, will plant one million trees in nine indigenous lands. The partnership will utilize agroforestry techniques, which increase carbon storage and support biodiversity in forests while increasing food security in communities. Marketable crops like açai, Brazil nut, cocoa, and babassu will also provide sustainable income for those managing restoration areas.
The planned reforestation work will include over 70 species and span 1.5 million hectares of the Brazilian Amazon (nearly 5,800 square miles).
“We are proud to be expanding our global planting efforts in partnership with Forest Trends, and believe this ambitious project represents the power and importance of trees and forests.” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. “This work in Brazil will advance the success and sustainability of indigenous communities as they lead creative efforts through planting and forest management.” “Forest Trends has long operated under the principle that Indigenous Peoples are the best stewards of the world’s forests and essential partners in forest conservation,” says Michael Jenkins, CEO and Founding President of Forest Trends. “Our partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation is an investment in a more sustainable economic model for the Amazon and forest communities around the world, that can help to keep forests intact.”
“Indigenous Peoples are critical stewards of the world’s forests. Their wisdom spans forest conservation, traditional knowledge and use of medicinal plants, and a way of life that is in harmony with nature, rather than infringing upon it,” said Beto Borges, Director of Forest Trends’ Communities and Territorial Governance Initiative. “Who could ask for better partners as we face this global crisis, and learn how to rebuild resilient communities in its aftermath?”