The non-profit organization Para la Naturaleza (PLN) joined the promise of 1t.org,, an international movement to conserve, restore, and cultivate one trillion trees around the planet by 2030, under the premise that trees and forests are fundamental nature-based solutions to climate change.
1 Trillion Trees was created within the framework of the fiftieth annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January 2020. This initiative is a 10-year effort to support the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030.
Para la Naturaleza’s commitment is to plant 1 million trees by 2030 and, at the same time, protect and acquire 1,000 acres of land per year through 2033. To this commitment to planting, several support actions are added such as the development and maintenance of nurseries, data and technological tools, protection and accompaniment of planted trees, development of workforce, environmental education, and financing of conservation initiatives.
“We added the archipelago of Puerto Rico to this international promise to plant one trillion trees across the planet, committing to plant 1 million trees and help protect more than 9,000 acres of land by 2030,” said Fernando Lloveras, president of Para la Naturaleza.
Para la Naturaleza is using ecosystem restoration strategies to help restore forest ecosystems in protected natural areas and in more than 30 affected communities in the islands of Puerto Rico. The project is designed to educate and engage people in mass reforestation efforts to foster the well-being of ecosystems and communities; it is divided into four parts:
· Tree production by improving existing nurseries and creating new ones in schools and communities
· Planting trees in nature reserves, schools, and communities
· Maintenance and supervision to ensure optimal tree growth
· Development of abilities through volunteer training
Para la Naturaleza increased its tree production through the operation of its five nurseries located in several regions of the island: San Juan, Barranquitas, Ponce, Manatí, and Fajardo. Para la Naturaleza’s Reforestation Unit has the sole purpose of conducting and achieving the reforestation activities and goals of the organization, with the support of other allied organizations, volunteers, and other community partners.
Reforestation in Puerto Rico:
During the 1950s, Puerto Rico experienced a large recovery in forest cover (from 6% to 55%) after having lost nearly 94% of its tree cover due to extreme agricultural activity in the early twentieth century. However, following Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, it had a dramatic change in the landscape and, therefore, in the ecosystem services provided by forests and trees.
Hurricanes wiped out hundreds of thousands of trees, exposed surviving trees and destroyed the island’s lush forests.
After the hurricanes, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory conducted a rapid assessment using satellite imagery, currently under evaluation, determining an estimated preliminary loss of 23 to 31 million trees. However, an analysis made by the U.S. Forest Service reveals that the estimate may reach 144 million trees lost.
About Para la Naturaleza
Para la Naturaleza is a private and non-profit entity that promotes the conservation of ecosystems and historical places. The organization aims to increase the amount of protected land on the island to 33%. Through its educational and ecotourism offerings, Para la Naturaleza integrates people in the protection of its natural areas with high ecological value, the recovery of its historical places and the support of organic farming. In addition, it motivates people to take concrete actions in favor of nature such as volunteer work, the donation of funds and land, or the establishment of conservation easements. Para la Naturaleza manages 64 protected natural areas and six visitor centers throughout Puerto Rico, including Hacienda Buena Vista in Ponce, Hacienda La Esperanza in Manatí and Cabezas de San Juan in Fajardo, among others