The event spanned a range of 2,000 hectares in 150 locations, covering diverse ecosystems such as the Pacific coast, the Andean mountains and the Amazonian basin. It was precisely this variety of terrain that enabled the inclusion of eclectic species, including fig trees that offer vital benefits to ecosystem health, and the highly threatened mahogany.
The initiative was designed and coordinated under “Siembraton”, a governmental scheme to protect and restore Ecuador’s environmental heritage. Lorena Tapia Nunez, the Ecuadorian Environment Minister, further announced that this momentous record is only one piece of a larger objective to reforest 1 million hectares over a twenty year period, effectively zeroing the nation’s current deforestation rate.
Reforestation is likewise rising across the rest of the world with tremendous consequences. Pakistan have recently pledged to plant a billion trees over the next four years in a $150m mission, while a major EU-funded forestry project in Fiji is touted to vastly boost local employment, restoring soil fertility and providing raw materials in the process.
The benefits of reforestation are not solely confined to its most popularly-professed effects of reversing climate change through CO2 absorption, but across the world, forests bestow upon people countless resources, from food, firewood, housing material, air purification qualities, and even cultural or spiritual foundations. When we plant trees, we grow people.
Battling global deforestation seems to be a herculean mission due the steamrolling machine of consumer culture; however, ecological restoration is fast-emerging as a conservationist’s best weapon. E.O. Wilson, one of the most prominent biologists of our time, hit upon the subject when he proposed, “here is the means to end the great extinction spasm. The next century will, I believe, be the era of restoration in ecology.”