Brazil once had the highest deforestation rate in the world and as of 2013 still has large areas of forest removed annually.
As mentioned elsewhere on this site, just two countries, Brazil and Indonesia are estimated to account for approximately 55% of the world’s deforestation.
Since 1970, over 600,000 sq kilometres (230,000 sq miles) of Amazon rainforest have been destroyed. In 2013, the Amazon was approximately 5.3 million sq kilometres, which is only 86% of its original state. Rainforests have decreased in size entirely due to deforestation. Despite reductions in the rate of deforestation in recent years, the Amazon Rainforest could still be reduced by a further 30-40% in the next 15 years at the current rate.
Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is responsible for as much as 10% of current greenhouse gas emissions due to the removal of forest which would have otherwise absorbed the emissions having a clear effect on global warming. The problem is made worse by the method of removing the forest where many trees are burned to the ground emitting vast amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, not only affecting air quality in areas of Brazil but affecting the carbon dioxide levels globally as a result.
Between May 2000 and August 2006, it is estimated that Brazil lost nearly 150,000 sq kilometres of forest. That is an area larger than the entirety of England.
The Brazilian rainforest is one of the most biologically diverse regions of the world. Over a million species of plants and animals are known to live in the Amazon and many millions of species are unclassified or unknown. With the rapid process of deforestation the habitats of many animals and plants that live in the rainforests are under threat and species may face extinction.
Rainforests are the oldest ecosystems on earth. Rainforest plants and animals continued to evolve, developing into the most diverse and complex ecosystems on earth. Living in limited areas, most of these species are endemic, or found nowhere else in the world. In tropical rainforests, it is estimated that 90% of the species that exist in the ecosystem reside in the canopy. Since the tropical rainforests are estimated to hold 50% of the planet’s species, the canopy of rainforests worldwide may hold 45% of life on Earth.
We are currently seeking local partners with whom we may collaborate and develop seedling nurseries in the same proven format we have been operating in North Thailand.
To learn more about deforestation in Brazil and South America, go to our Research page under Education and Resources.
As mentioned elsewhere on this site, tree planting in Brazil or SE Asia has far greater benefits than planting in high latitudes such as Europe.
Research show that Trees only really work to cool the planet if planted in the tropics
In the so-called mid-latitude region where the United States and majority of European countries are located, the climate benefits of tree planting to reduce global warming is very low.
Tropical forests are very beneficial to the climate because they take up carbon and increase cloudiness, which in turn helps cool the planet.
Land and labour costs are also far lower and the benefits to what are predominantly poor communities far greater.
In our view, schemes designed to offset carbon emissions are only effective if planted in tropical climates.
In addition to offsetting carbon emissions however, our projects are also about maintaining bio diversity, helping wildlife and communities.
It is difficult for tree planting alone to replicate the biodiversity and complexity of a natural forest but we go to some lengths to achieve a balanced and diverse environment.
To promote the growth of native ecosystems, WTT advocate only indigenous trees be planted. Where essential to begin rebuilding desolate areas of land, we may on occasion plant tough, fast-growing native tree species. We seek to plant non-invasive trees that assist in the natural return of indigenous species to assist natural regeneration. Please support us.