A Brief Update on our Partner Project with WeForest in Brazil
The habitats of the Atlantic forest of eastern Brazil provide vital green corridors for several animals, including the endangered black lion tamarin monkey and over 100 species of trees. WeForest, our tree planting partner, is working with partner Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas (IPE) and a network of farms and tree nurseries to replenish this fragmented area into a thriving forest again in the Atlantic forest restoration project.
On 28th August 2020, we received WeForest's annual report, reporting the planting from 2nd September 2019 to 31st August 2020. Over that reporting period, 70 hectares were funded for forest restoration with the potential to sequester approximately 22,265t of CO2 over 30 years. Meaning in 30 years, there will be approximately 140,253 native trees!
The forest restoration is conducted through ANR (Assisted Natural Regeneration) (1) and tree planting, which is used to recover highly degraded areas where natural regeneration is limited. These areas will be planted in high-density with around 100 different native species selected for their characteristics, e.g. fast growth, a food source for wildlife etc.
The trees funded during the reporting period are forecasted to be planted in March 2021, with work expected to be completed by June, depending on weather conditions. This will be a combination of active tree planting and assisted natural regeneration.
The three sites earmarked for trees funded by TreeSisters during the reporting period cover an area of 234 hectares. Two sites will be dedicated to tree planting (2,000 trees planted per ha – spacing is 2mx2.5m), and the remaining site will be a combination of ANR and tree planting.
Since the project started (1st September 2016), TreeSisters has funded 381,594 trees,
representing approximately 22% of the total trees planted through WeForest and its other sponsors in the project area.
While it is important to celebrate our common achievement it is also important to humbly acknowledge that in 2019, fires not only occurred in the Amazon but across all of Brazil, in part due to tensions over land use - where land is slashed and burned for farming and logging. At the end of the 2019 dry season, parts of the Pontal do Paranapanema wildlife corridor were burnt, through fires suspected to have been deliberately lit, including 688 trees funded by TreeSisters.
WeForest is discussing with its partner IPE and local communities how to recover the damaged forest in a way that can benefit local communities. They are considering replacing the trees lost under a different scheme they call “forest-based productive area” ‒ a solution where the trees could, for example, provide fruit, nuts, and other uses whilst storing carbon and restoring the landscape, such as silvicultural pastures for gradual forest recovery or agroforestry.
This new scheme is intended to be a more resilient and valuable ecosystem for the local community to ensure its long-term care. A recent article co-written by the University of São Paulo, WeForest, University of Connecticut, and IPE (2) explains that agroforests may potentially result in high abundance and species richness in naturally regenerating saplings.
Once plans are clear, the tree guarantee fund that WeForest maintains for potential tree loss will be released to support the regeneration of the site.