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Recently, I read an article shared with me by Binka titled, ‘Rainforest regrowth boosts carbon capture, study shows’. The article was straightforward – secondary forests are more effective than old growth forests in combating our carbon foot print. With our levels of pollution and carbon emissions higher than ever and only increasing with each day that passes, you would think that the logic highlighted in the article would be enough to convince people to drop what they’re doing and reforest. They’re not. Well, slowly, they are. But, not in the volume needed to make up for our lives pos-industrial revolution.

With that in mind – other than the obvious reasons to protect our planet, why should we reforest? Here at Iracambi, each week we find reasons to dirty our hands in order to reforest the lands.

We reforest to clean our waters. This is the basis of our ‘Forests4Water’ campaign. By planting trees, we clean out water ways. That sounds easy “planting trees, saving lives makes for a good catch” but how exactly is this done? How does an increase of trees make for increased water quality? It is quite simple. When you replant native forests, the roots of the trees work with the earth system and stop erosion. Previously, erosion caused by badly managed pastures and mono-cultures sent chemicals and soil directly into our streams causing pollution. By replanting native forests, we are able to preserve our watershed and clean our waterways. How is that for some #climatechange #buzzwords.

We reforest to educate. To continue on with buzzwords, we can’t solve #climatechange without teaching it. We are all experiencing the effects of climate change. This past summer has been one of Brazil’s hottest on record, while New York City has been experiencing intense snow storms. To understand the changes in our climate, we start by understanding the role we and the forests play in our environment, both separately and interdependently. Iracambi is working to do our part in educating those around us about replanting. This past week, forty students from Seropédica Technical School in the state of Rio ignored the heat and got their hands dirty planting native trees in the trails surrounding our center.

We reforest to aid in food production. Increasing native forest brings nutrients back into our soil. Through methods of agroforestry and sustainable, organic farming, matching native trees with production crops, we can naturally balance our soils (for example, the nitrogen cycle) and increase the quality of our food. At Iracambi, we have spent the past days learning methods of sustainable, organic farming such as EM (Enriched Micro-organisms) and natural composting by spending time working on local farms. Currently at Iracambi, our forest managers, Toni and Fagner, are researching and working on projects transforming a mono-crop coffee plantation to a nutrient-rich agroforestry coffee plot. As Toni has said, more than producing coffee, alternative, sustainable methods of coffee production allows us to connect and communicate with the “coffee community”.

And finally, we reforest to build a community. Reforestation efforts take time, effort and the sharing of knowledge. Planting trees is hard work, and requires many warm bodies. Reforestation is a long term commitment. The act of replanting and reforesting can foster ties and build communities.  We reforest to work with the local community – without a local community, there is no global community.

Why do you reforest?


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A visit to Iracambi

Iracambi is an NGO located in the Atlantic Rainforest and during my recent visit….

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