Brazil Replants Rainforest to Restore the Amazon Basin

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By Michael Kepp

Brazil will restore more than 100 miles of the country’s Amazon Basin by 2023, replanting vegetation to prevent erosion and improve water flow through the forest, according to the World Bank.

The $8 million project will focus on the headwaters of Brazilian Amazon Basin rivers, where deforestation has caused riverbank erosion and the silting up of those waterways, Adriana Moreira, a senior environmental specialist with the bank, told Bloomberg BNA Sept. 18. Replanting the vegetation should have no major impact on business, be it fishing, logging or agriculture, “because most of the headwaters are located on public and not private land,” Moreira said.

The Brazilian Amazon Sustainable Landscapes project, funded by the World Bank’s Global Environment Facility Program, will also connect isolated federally-protected areas in four Amazon states through planting corridors of native vegetation.

Reforesting vegetation around headwaters, which is where rivers begin, can “keep ecosystems robust, both in the Amazon Basin and elsewhere,” Philip Fearnside, senior researcher in Amazon ecology at the government-run National Institute for Research in the Amazon, told Bloomberg BNA.“Such restoration provides a strong tree root system that greatly reduces soil erosion,” he said. “And reducing sediment erosion into a river keeps the flow rate of that river constant. And a constant river flow rate maintains its health and that of its fauna and flora as well as the health of the basin into which it flows.”

The project will improve the Amazon Basin’s health through planting. That will allow animal migration between protected areas to safeguard biodiversity and “preserve the world’s biggest rainforest whose absorption of carbon helps mitigate against global warming,” Moreira told Bloomberg BNA.

The project is a continuation of an effort that originated in 2016 from a donation of one million reais ($320,000) by the sponsors and organizers of Rock in Rio to restore the vegetation around the headwaters of the Xingu River Basin in Brazil’s western Amazon by 2018.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Kepp in Rio de Janeiro at correspondents@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachael Daigle at rdaigle@bna.com

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