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Can we replant the planet's rainforests?


Rainforest Reforestation Efforts
Ecotourism is one of the economic motivations for replanting the rainforests.
Ecotourism is one of the economic motivations for replanting the rainforests.
Jerry Driendl/The Image Bank/Getty Images

­Reforestation efforts are sprouting up all around the world. Numerous conservation groups are working to preserve, enlarge and connect the world's rainforests. Let's take a closer look at some of those projects.

Rwanda's government and various ecological groups are paying special attention to the Gishwati Forest Reserve. Once a vast rainforest, activities such as deforestation and refugee resettlement reduced it to a fraction of its original size around the turn of the century [source: Science Daily]. Since then, reforestation has somewhat increased the size of the forest, but it remains a sliver of its original size.

A project called the Rwandan National Conservation Park is gaining momentum, and those people involved with the project are working to bring the rainforest back and connect it with larger, surviving rainforests nearby. These individuals and organizations are looking to accomplish this through the use of wide tree corridors. They also plan to increase the acreage of the core forest and study the ecology of the forest's animals, particularly its chimpanzees.

Indonesia, where extensive rainforests have been severely decimated, is also investing in reforestation. On Nov. 28, 2007, each of the country's 79,000 government institutions planted 1,000 trees -- contributing 79 million trees in all [source: ­Anderton]. This effort aligns with other tree-planting projects, as well as vigorous monitoring of illegal logging operations.

In Brazil, the pace of rainforest loss has begun to slow, and several conservation efforts are underway [source: Ausubel]. Huge projects that involve the cooperation of many Brazilian and international organizations have been working to replant the rainforests. Developing and building vast networks of corridors is one major focus, along with species protection and protective breeding programs. Conservationists have also worked to educate the local community about the value of a thriving rainforest. In addition, ranchers and farmers receive incentives for cultivating forest parcels on their lands.

The United Nations Environment Programme met with such success during its worldwide Billion Tree Campaign -- the 1 billion mark was hit in just eight months -- that the new goal is 7 billion trees [source: U.N.] They hope to achieve this goal by the end of 2009, and citizens from around the globe are invited to pledge plantings and register their planted trees at Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign.

­To find out more about the benefits of reforestation, how you can get involved and other great links about replanting the rainforests, follow the links on the next page.

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