Our planet has some environmental issues to address. On Monday, more than 15,000 scientists from 184 countries asked world leaders to fix problems from climate change and freshwater availability to dwindling biodiversity and shrinking forests.
The good news? There's still time to address many of these problems. Efforts like the Paris Agreement are a key to this, as is everything from advances in renewable energy to the ideas of the young scientists of tomorrow!
And you can add this news to the list of ways humanity is stepping up: plans are set for the largest reforestation project in human history! The location? The Amazon rainforest in Brazil.
Home to trees and wildlife
If two of the goals of scientists' recent global warning are to preserve biodiversity and protect forests, you couldn't pick a better place to start than the Amazon.
The Amazon rainforest is huge. As the world's largest rainforest, it is home to around 40,000 plant species and an unreal number of animal species: 1,300 types of bird, 3,000 fish, 430 mammals and 2.5 million different insects. And new species are being discovered all the time, with 381 being found in 2014–2015. That sounds like a place worth keeping.
On top of all of this, it is the supplier of about 20% of the total oxygen made on Earth. Okay, so now that you've got our attention, just what is this plan all about?
Six-year reforestation plan
Led by the group Conservation International, this plan will take place over the next six years, ending in 2023. It involves planting a mind-blowing 73 million trees across 300 square km (30,000 hectares) of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. That is essentially the same space as 30,000 soccer fields!
And just how will they reach this goal?
The plan is to use something called the muvuca strategy. Instead of planting saplings, workers will spread seeds across the deforested land. You might think that planting baby trees is a surer thing than just throwing seeds, but studies show that using muvuca produces a lot of resilient future adult trees. Plus it's cheaper and quicker to get going over a very large area.
One step forward
Speaking of the future, this reforestation plan may be a good start, but Brazil still has a long way to go to meet its Paris Agreement commitments. Their terms ask the country to have reforested 12 million hectares of rainforest by 2030. In other words, this is just one part of what must be an even larger plan. It's a daunting task, but each step is a step forward.
Here we grow, Brazil...