Amazon rainforest (Shutterstock)
Article Words : Nora Wallaya | 02 September 2019

How can you help the Amazon rainforest?

Wondering how you can help the Amazon? Discover projects, appeals and trips that involve reforestation activities, tackling climate change and restoring vital rainforest habitats...

The Amazon rainforest (Shutterstock)

The Amazon rainforest (Shutterstock)

 

Through the summer of 2019, fires spread rapidly across the Brazilian Amazon, devastating the environment in yet another blow to one of the world’s most fragile ecosystems.

Leading scientists in Brazil and elsewhere argue the cause is deforestation; the pattern of fire follows the same kind that’s typical of clearing forest to make way for livestock rearing.

Close to 73,000 Amazon fires have been documented this year alone - that’s nearly double the count from 2018, and the highest number ever recorded. The count is set to continue rising, as unsustainable deforestation practices remain rife in the region.

Livestock farming, the timber and construction industries and illegal logging are among the major issues the Amazon is facing; the maze of twists, turns and dead-ends in seeing any kind of resolution leaves even the experts in a quandary.

 

The Amazon (Shutterstock)

The Amazon (Shutterstock)

 

Reforestation has been widely reported as having mind-blowing potential to tackle not just the crisis in the world’s rainforests, but in healing the damaging (and increasing) effects of climate change that our planet is experiencing. It involves the simple practice of planting native trees.

From the proposed £1.1 billion Ethiopian tree planting project, to the TreeSisters project planting over two million trees a year, global reforestation projects are on the rise. There’s even a search engine that plants trees using the profits it gains from ordinary internet browsing; Ecosia claims to have planted close to 66 million trees to date.

Travellers can take part in reforestation, too. We’ve put together a list of trips and volunteer projects you can sign up to, where you can assist in the vital work of restoring the Amazon rainforest, and other parts of the world, helping to reverse the catastrophic effects of deforestation.

These are the best reforestation trips to consider, plus more ways to help the Amazon...

1. Amazon conservation experience in Peru

Manu National Park, Peru (Shutterstock)

Manu National Park, Peru (Shutterstock)

On this trip you’ll help to create, plant, monitor and map reforestation plots. To date, volunteers have helped to turn 17 hectares of degraded agricultural land into agroforestry plots.

Who? The Great Projects

When? No fixed departures

Where? Near Manu National Park, Peru

How long? 15 to 88 nights

How much? From £1,395

2. Volunteer with The Iracambi Project in Brazil

(Courtesy of The Iracambi Project)

(Courtesy of The Iracambi Project)

You’ll help in a variety of ways, with tasks assigned according to your skills and interests, from photographing landscapes earmarked for reforestation, to raising seedlings in a nursery.

Who? The Iracambi Project

When? Dates are given following an approved volunteer application

Where? Serra do Brigadeiro State Park, Brazil

How long? Minimum of two weeks

How much? From $200 per week for all food and accommodation

3. Kinabatangan rainforest experience in Borneo

The Kinabatangan rainforest (Shutterstock)

The Kinabatangan rainforest (Shutterstock)

Wildlife conservation and reforestation go hand-in-hand on this trip to Borneo, where you'll be working to restore forest habitat for orangutans and pygmy elephants. The project aims to plant thousands of trees every year.

Who? The Great Projects

When? No fixed departures

Where? The Kinabatangan rainforest

How long? 11 nights

How much? From £1,295

4. Volunteer on an agroforestry project in Peru

Puerto Maldonado, Peru (Shutterstock)

Puerto Maldonado, Peru (Shutterstock)

Get busy planting, weeding and seeding on Lucy and Willi’s agroforestry farm in Puerto Maldonado, Peru and help to promote sustainable farming practices in the Amazon. Their project aims to reforest degraded areas of former farming pasture, by planting native tree species.

Who? Lucy and Willi's farm, via WorkAway

When? Volunteers required year-round

Where? Puerto Maldonado, Peru

How long? Minimum of two weeks

How much? From $200 per week for all food and accommodation

Donate to an appeal

You can also help by donating to an appeal.

The WWF, Rainforest Alliance, Rainforest Trust and Rainforest Rescue are all running worthwhile donation campaigns aimed at both restoring the Amazon and preventing illegal and unsustainable practices.

There are also charities and organisations that use funds to plant trees in forests around the world, such as the Woodland Trust, One Tree Planted, Trees for Cities and the Trillion Tree Project.

Actions you can take now

  1. Reduce your use of paper. Buy from a sustainable source. Look out for the FSC-certified (Forest Stewardship Council) logo.

2. Reduce your intake of red meat. Brazil is the world's largest exporter of beef, and the second-largest exporter of soya beans (the majority of which is used to feed cattle). Buy from a local, responsible source.

3. Drink coffee responsibly. The ever-expanding coffee industry potentially has a place in rainforest degradation. Buy your coffee from an RA-certified (Rainforest Alliance) source.

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