By Melissa Rossi, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Joining the debate against global deforestation, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, also known as IUCN, announced on Monday at Riocentro that different organizations from Brazil, the United States and Rwanda have agreed in restoring approximately 18 million hectares of degraded forests by 2020.
The challenge is part of an online campaign called “Plant Pledge” sponsored by IUCN to generate concrete action in forest restoration initiatives.
Following the green-print target set last year by the “Bonn Challenge on Forests, Climate Change and Biodiversity,” which aims at recovering 150 million hectares of degraded forests worldwide, the IUCN hopes to gather widespread governmental support at the Rio+20.
The advantages lie not only in the environmental impact of reforestation and preservation of biodiversity but also in economic opportunities related to job creation.
Stewart Maginnis, Director of the Nature-Based Solutions Group of IUCN, explains on the IUCN website that the “IUCN’s latest research now shows that in restoring 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2020 – which is only fifteen percent of the estimated area of degraded forests worldwide – we would see more than US$84 billion net injected annually into local and global economies and cut the climate change ‘emissions reduction gap’ by 11-17 percent.”
Brazilian NGO’s have pledged the reforestation of one million hectares of Mata Atlântica (Atlantic Forest). One of the most threatened environments in the country, the Atlantic Forest extents along Brazil’s coast and harbors one of the country’s most extraordinary biodiversities.
At present, many of its endemic species are threatened by extinction due to irregular human occupation and the lack of long-sighted policies that protect its fauna and flora.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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