Between the Arab Spring, the weird weather, and, well, the Casey Anthony trial, you may have missed the fact that 2011 was proclaimed “The International Year of Forests” by the UN General Assembly. This celebration is long overdue: forests not only provide habitat to animals and plants, but also purify air and water, prevent soil erosion, andsequester carbon。Additionally, they’re a critical economic resource: globally, about1.6 billion peoplerely in whole or in part on forests for their livelihoods.
All of this value they create makes deforestation a critical threat… and, even though the destruction of forest lands has slowed in recent years, we still lose about 18 million acres annually.Agriculture is the biggest cause of deforestation，其次是伐木、野火和过度放牧。随着森林的消失，我们失去了我们所有人赖以生存的生态服务……世界上许多最贫穷的人无法在退化的土地上种植粮食。
Fortunately, the UN General Assembly isn’t the only organization taking a look at the state of the world’s forests: governments, NGOs, and even for-profit companies recognize the environmental and economic losses caused by deforestation, and are working to restore the health of these important ecosystems. Over past decades, a number of reforestation projects around the world have succeeded in bringing forests back to life and health. TheGreen Belt Movementin Kenya, founded by Nobel laureateWangari Maathai, is one of the most well-known, but efforts to revive forests have succeeded around the world. Here are a a handful of them…
Reforestation in Korea
South Korea could likely serve as the model for reforestation: Lester Brown noted inEco-Economy: Building an Economy for the Earththat “Perhaps the most successful national reforestation effort is the one undertaken in South Korea beginning more than a generation ago.” At the end of Korean war hostilities in 1953, the country was almost completely deforested because of logging and heavy use of firewood during the 35-year Japanese occupation earlier in the century. Since then, national and local government efforts have turned bare mountains into forest lands: according toThe Korea Times,
Even the DMZ is now “pristine wildlife habitat“… and while South and North Korea are still on hostile terms, the former has helped the latter withtree-planting efforts。For the science behind Korean reforestation, take a look atthis articlefromThe Forestry Chronicle。
Reforestation in Tanzania: the Kwimba Reforestation Project
Started in 1990, theKwimba Reforestation Projectin Tanzania was a multinational and multi-organization effort to reforest land around 40 villages. Sub-Saharan Africa suffers from widespread deforestation, the vast majority of which results fromthe use of wood as a cooking fuel。燃料木材的采伐，加上20世纪初试图消灭采采蝇的森林砍伐，使得金巴地区的森林覆盖率大大降低。更有效地使用木材作为燃料，以及整体经济的发展推动了昆巴努力的策略，不仅包括种植澳大利亚桉树(长得很快，很好地满足了受影响社区的需求)，还建立了社区和学校的植物苗圃，以及居住在该地区的妇女设计了更清洁、更高效的炉灶。Organizations and governmental agencies from both Australia and Africa contributed to this effort.
During the project’s nine-year run, over6.4 million treeswere planted. One of the most unique aspects of ensuring responsibility for those trees: “tree ownership certificates” which gave the owner title to the tree (regardless of who owned the land on which it was planted).
Reforestation in Mexico: the Mixteca Region
Before the arrival of Spanish explorers,Mexico’s Mixteca region(in the state of Oaxaca) was covered with forests. Heavy logging and goat herding turned the area into a desert by the late 20th century. The introduction of modern farming techniques without erosion control further degraded the land.
In the 1980s, farmer Jesús León Santoslearned of indigenous farming techniques from Guatemalan immigrants。他在米斯特卡建立了小型农民综合发展中心(CEDICAM)，以实施这些技术，其中包括重新造林作为重建土壤的一种手段。2022世界杯四强亚盘赔率依靠本地树种、梯田农业技术和防止山坡侵蚀的遏制沟渠，CEDICAM不仅重新造林了1000多公顷(100万棵树)，还帮助创造了更多的经济机会，甚至在该地区创造了性别平等。Santos was awarded theGoldman Environmental Prizein 2008.
Reforestation in the United States: the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative
The Appalachian region in the eastern United States is rich in natural resources, but, historically, poor economically. Coal mining, a source of employment for many in the region (as well as various forms of environmental degradation), has created vast tracts of deforested land. TheAppalachian Region Reforestation Initiativebegan working to reverse the damage done by mining in the mid-200os: according tothe United Nations Environment Program, “some 60 million trees have been planted on about 87,000 acres of active mine sites in Appalachia under ARRI’s guidance.” Not only has this helped restore one of the US’ richest regions in biodiversity, but also created economic alternatives to the mines, particularly in sustainable timber harvesting and the recreation industry. ARRI has included state governments, academia, private land owners, and even the coal industry in its planning and activities.
Reforestation in Colombia: Gaviotas
Gaviotas, Colombia, is much smaller than the other locations we’ve discussed: an ecovillage of about 200 people in the Llanos grasslands region. Yet the United Nations named this community “a model of sustainable development” for its efforts to reforest the surrounding lands… all which have been decimated by the country’s long-running civil war (and which were, at one time, rainforests). Beginning in the early 1980s, residents of Gaviotas began planting Caribbean pine trees, and ensuring their survival in the acidic soil with the application of mycorrhizal fungus to their roots. Villagers have successfully reforested about 20,000 acres… and created economic opportunities with resin from the trees, and even new biodiesel initiatives. The increased forest cover has had an effect of weather patterns in the area: rainfall has increased by 10%, leading to a water-bottling effort.
Gaviotans not only enjoy the increased forest cover, but also a way of life enhanced by organic farming, wind and solar power, and a social structure that provides housing, meals, and schooling to all residents.
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