Planting one billion trees in Brazil. This is the challenge embraced by Restaura Brasil, a campaign that mobilizes people and companies in a collective movement for the restoration of native vegetation.
Find out how they are doing it and how you can contribute in this conversation with Rubens Benini, the Forest Restoration Strategy Lead for Latin America at The Nature Conservancy. Rubens has been working with forest restoration theme for more than 20 years.
BayBrazil: Tell us about the Restaura Brasil Project, the initiative and targets, and why it is so urgent to work on projects to fight climate change.
Rubens Benini: Climate change is the greatest environmental challenge facing humanity in the 21st century. We are already seeing its consequences: chronic droughts, rising seas, record high temperatures, more frequent extreme storms. Climate change poses an immediate threat to global economic security and prosperity and the health of nature and people.
Yet we are still doing business as usual. Relentless deforestation is a huge contributor to climate change, with 20% of global CO2 emissions caused by forest loss. The Brazilian Amazon has seen a resurgence of deforestation, whilst 88% of the country’s Atlantic Forest and 50% of Central Savannas in Brazil have been cleared.
Nature-based solutions – such as forest restoration – can get us more than a third of the way to the emission reductions needed by 2030.
Reforestation is an excellent opportunity to tackle climate change, and could also be good economically, through land use design, agroforestry systems and payment for environmental services it can provide valuable economic returns. Unlocking its commercial potential will transform rural economies by making climate solutions pay off for farmers, landowners, and investors.
Restaura Brasil is a campaign by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Brazil to mobilize people and companies in a collective movement to restore 1 billion trees in 400 thousand hectares in the country by 2030 and contribute to the Brazilian government achieves its NDC (National Determined Contribution) committed to the climate summit COP21 in Paris. Restaura Brasil is also part of TNC’s global reforestation campaign called Plant a Billion Trees.
BayBrazil: Has the receptivity of the campaign been good so far? Has the project received support from any other large public or private entity?
Rubens Benini: Restaura Brasil was launched at the end of 2018, however, this campaign is part of the global campaign named Plant a Billion Trees, that has supported the restoration of almost 45 million trees in Brazil.
Within TNC Restaura Brasil has integrated all our conservation strategies, particularly, the ones related to water protection and sustainable agriculture. Companies from TNC’s The Green Blue Water Coalition are very interested in the campaign, and we are right now discussing forms of engagement. The UN Global Compact for Brazil also got interested in supporting our campaign through its task forces for water and energy and climate, we are now formalizing our partnership to develop joint projects.
BayBrazil: TNC has been present in Brazil since 1988, working on climate changes and promoting restoration of trees. What other areas does it serve? What were the greatest achievements in those years?
Rubens Benini: In Brazil, where it has been acting since 1988, TNC promotes initiatives in the Brazilian biomes, with the objective to make economic and social development of these regions compatible with the conservation of natural ecosystems. TNC’s work focuses on actions related to Sustainable Farming, Water Safety and Intelligent Infrastructure, in addition to Ecological Restoration and Indigenous Lands.
TNC implements reforestation actions in Brazil since 2001 and has already restored 45 million trees in 18,000 hectares, supported by many individuals, companies and public bodies, of which you can find in our website. TNC has worked with 10 states in Brazil and helped the Brazilian government in formulating the National Policy of Native Vegetation Restoration (“Política Nacional de Restauração da Vegetação Nativa” – PROVEG) and of the national plan (PLANAVEG). We also developed a huge monitoring web system platform, that allows us to monitor and report all restoration sites and give transparency to the whole process. Another important point is the training of more than 1,500 people in restoration techniques and practices.
In order to the restoration work gain scale, it is necessary to go beyond the legal demands of environmental compliance of agricultural properties; it is necessary to create a new chain and engage the private sector and individuals from large urban centers in a great restoration movement. It is also important that society realizes the intrinsic relationship between climate, water, and forest.
BayBrazil: TNC works in many countries, how did the interest in Brazil arise?
Rubens Benini: The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is a global environmental conservation organization dedicated to the large-scale preservation of land and water on which life depends. Guided by science, TNC creates innovative and practical solutions to the world’s most difficult challenges, so that nature and people can thrive together. Working in 72 countries, the organization uses a collaborative approach, involving local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners.
Being the 5th largest country in the world, a fast-growing agricultural superpower and having the largest assemblage of biodiversity, Brazil is a must country to do conservation, and, at the same time, it has a huge challenge ahead: halt illegal deforestation, increase reforestation and ensure large-scale supply of responsibly produced commodities, especially soy and beef.
BayBrazil: What was considered in the selection of the restoration areas?
Rubens Benini: Restaura Brasil recovers priority areas, scientifically defined, in Atlantic Forest, Cerrado and The Amazon biomes in Brazil. These regions are defined as: 1) important areas for implementing ecological corridors by improving the connectivity of isolated forests remnants, and maintain and increase biological conservation; 2) areas where the Forest National Law determines, for example, surrounding rivers margins , aiming at reducing the silting and the sedimentation and 3) regions of low agricultural capacity, using different techniques, such as agroforestry systems (“Sistemas Agroflorestais” – SAFs), in order to generate economic return to agricultural producers.
BayBrazil: What has been the impact of RB fundraising since the launch of this campaign?
Rubens Benini: As we said before, the Restaura Brasil is a very new campaign. At this moment we are still negotiating the first engagements after public launching. If your Company has interest, please see below ways to engage.
BayBrazil: How can a person or a company donate or help in the campaign?
Rubens Benini: The campaign aims to work with all sectors of society. Anyone can get at the website and donate to the campaign, accessing www.restaurabrasil.org.br
Companies interested can contact us directly through email@example.com to start a conversation about partnerships. Partnerships with private companies can help the company mitigate its footprint, have a related content package in hands to communicate and engage consumers, employees and the general public in restoration actions.
The value per tree is R$20 or US$5, covering actions such as prospecting of areas, purchasing of inputs, labor, monitoring, articulation with partners, public policies, communication, etc. The hotsite of the campaign has a georeferenced map that shows the areas in restoration, which is interconnected with the Integrated Restoration System (“Sistema Integrado de Restauração” – SIR), a database used by TNC to manage the restoration areas. Through SIR, the map is automatically updated.
To know more about Restaura Brasil please visit our website