Saving cities up to $505 million a year, trees are the underdog we tend to dismiss too often. After planting a record-breaking 66 million trees in 12 hours, Indian volunteers have inspired even greater reforestation attempts. Conservation International is going big, attempting to restore 70,000 acres of the Amazon forest.
“If the world is to hit the 1.2°C or 2°C [degrees of warming] target that we all agreed to in Paris, then protecting tropical forests in particular has to be a big part of that,” [says] M. Sanjayan, CEO of Conservation International.
Stopping the seemingly trivial issue of deforestation can cut up to 37% of carbon emissions. To rehabilitate the Amazon, the group is using the muvuca strategy. This tactic combines over 200 native forest species that have a 90% chance of successful germination.
“With muvuca, the initial outcome is 2,500 species per hectare. And after 10 years, you can reach 5,000 trees per hectare. It’s much more diverse, much more dense, and less expensive than traditional techniques.”
Even better, Conservation International is employing indigenous communities and family farmers. A few million trees have already been planted, and it seems an appetite for change is growing along with them.
Solar power exists everywhere — in highways and even infrastructure. It can withstand extreme conditions, or at least as far as we know. Now, two Chinese companies are testing that theory, setting out to build a solar farm on the remains of Chernobyl.
“It is cheap land, and abundant sunlight constitutes a solid foundation for the project,” says Ostap Semerak, Ukraine’s minister of environment and natural resources.
After years of battling radiation, Chernobyl has apparently become a breeding ground for new possibilities. Golden Concord Holdings and Sinomach will be spearheading the formidable project, which will cover 2,500 hectares.
“There will be remarkable social benefits and economical ones as we try to renovate the once-damaged area with green and renewable energy,” says Shu Hua, chairman of the GLC subsidiary.
As it welcomes hundreds of tourists a year, Chernobyl’s progress is slow but steady. Home to dozens of animal species, the once-toxic ghost town is finally making its comeback.
Wildlife rehabilitation is now going beyond the animal-loving circle. From grand endeavors by Chile to save endangered penguins to household efforts sheltering bats, everyone seems to be in on the action. Latest to join the party is Kazakhstan, which is reintroducing wild tigers back into the country after 70 years.
“Thanks to years of close collaboration between Kazakhstan and Russian conservation experts, we have now identified the best possible territory in Ili-Balkhash for the restoration of a thriving wild tiger population.” [said WWF-Russia director Igor Chestin]
The project will erect a nature preserve and restore forests that initially hosted the wild tigers. If all go according to plan, Kazakhstan will be the first country in the world to restore an extinct population of wild tigers.
“Kazakhstan is moving along the path of green development. We are honoured to be the first country in central Asia to implement such an important and large-scale project, that not only will bring wild tigers back to their ancestral home but also protect the unique ecosystem of the Ili-Balkhash region.”
Kazakhstan saw the end of its tiger community in the 1940s. Worldwide, wild tigers have lost some 90% of their historical range. Now, the country has poachers on their toes. As an animal enthusiast myself, I’m looking forward to anticipating the success of such an ambitious project.
It’s safe to say that dogs are eager to learn, sometimes giving back to society without even knowing it. Some dogs are using their fetching skills to battle pollution. This special trio of Border Collies is helping to restore forests in Chile by replanting hectares of trees. Yes, dogs can plant, and it’s a lot simpler than it sounds!
The Border Collies have been scampering through the charred remains with special satchels that spread seeds as they run to sow seedlings, grass and flowers.
The dogs can cover a range of 30 kilometers in a day and sow up to 10 kilos of seeds, whereas a person could only do three kilometers in a day.
The dogs, bred to herd, are perfect for the job. They are quick and intelligent with a high stamina.
This work has been under way for three months now in 15 forests of the El Maule region. In some of them, grass is back and seedlings, vines and mushrooms have pushed through the blackened earth, thanks to the moisture that comes with the winter of the southern hemisphere.
While they might not know it, Chile owes the dogs, known as Summer, Olivia, and Das more than just a bag of treats!