What challenges and opportunities does global reforestation pose?
Our lives depend on trees. For several decades, reforestation has become a shared and essential international priority. The challenges it poses are specific to each ecosystem and context in different regions of the world.
Planting trees can be a fun and rewarding activity. But we don’t just plant for the sake of it! We plant to save lives and preserve local flora and fauna. So, yes, let’s plant, but let’s plant the right trees, in the right places, at the right time and for the right reasons.
You may be wondering why reforestation is so important. Why do people around the world work together on reforestation programmes? What are the strategic places where we can save resources by planting trees? What problems do we solve by embarking on reforestation projects?
Let’s take a closer look at Ethiopia and Portugal, for example. There, people are looking for reforestation solutions for their land and communities. Along with our local partners, we have been supporting them for years to help them solve their (sometimes complex) problems.
How can planting trees feed people?
Over the past century, Ethiopia’s forest cover has gone from 35% to 4%. These figures are alarming for the . It has been working to reforest several of the country’s regions for 20 years. The Yves Rocher Foundation partnered with the Green Ethiopia Foundation in 2009; since then, we have planted 42 million forest trees.
Planting forests in Ethiopia means making the soil fertile again. This allows farmers to cultivate the land and get larger amounts of higher quality crops. As a result, they can meet their own food needs, as well as those of the rural population. Planting trees in Ethiopia also means making communities aware of the importance of preserving local plant-life. This is vital to human survival, as well as endangered animal and plant species.
Why encourage planting local species in Portugal?
Portugal has fallen victim to a real ecological disaster in the last few years. Thousands of hectares of forest have been ravaged by fierce fires burning across the country every summer. These have destroyed dozens of farmers’ lands. Antonio saw all his work turn to ashes; Herminda risked her life trying to save her cow farm, in vain (1). There are two main reasons for this:
The paper industry is an important source of income for the Portuguese economy. Agricultural land is being abandoned in favour of the monocultural eucalyptus crops needed to make paper. The problem is that eucalyptus is highly flammable because it isn’t adapted to the Portuguese climate.
Climate change, which dries out the soil and strengthens ocean winds, makes the trees even more flammable.
Supported by the Yves Rocher Foundation, the reforestation association Futuro has already planted more than 30,000 trees and produced 75,000 seedlings in nurseries. Its founder, Marta Pinto wants to raise awareness about the importance of planting native trees so that Portugal can regain its original vegetation.