Saturday, June 4, 2011

RNG Week- Congo-Brazzaville

We close out RNG Week in Congo-Brazzaville, where today, leaders from 32 countries in the Amazon, Congo and Borneo-Mekong forest basins wrapped up a weeklong conference on deforestation. The three regions combined contain 40% of the world's forest-held carbon and 80% of rainforests.

Over the course of the conference, they agreed to a declaration recognizing it as a priority and noted the need to be able to access international funding; however, a concrete coordinated plan eluded them. This is more than they expected going in, though, and there will be more opportunities to construct that plan. Further meetings are set for South Africa in December and for Brazil next year.

The international funding is key. Despite pledges from more developed nations of monetary support, the nations at the summit were in agreement that the money wasn't actually reaching them. As a result, despite deforestation having dropped by a quarter over the last 10 years, 5.4 million hectares a year are still being lost, mostly to farmland. (That's 13.34 million acres.)

Congo-Brazzaville itself, for its part, is intending to plant one million hectares of trees- 2.47 million acres- by 2020. They have also banned the use of plastic bags.

If you're so inclined to help get trees in the ground, whether in the rainforest or elsewhere, suggested on this end is the Arbor Day Foundation. The default status of a donation is to plant new trees within the United States; however, they also do rainforest-preservation donations. If you're in Canada, Tree Canada plants domestically; and Great Britain's Plant A Tree Today Foundation primarily plants in Southeast Asia.

Of course, without sustainable development, those trees will come right back down, so:

For South America, try the Amazon Conservation Team.
For Africa, try the Clinton Foundation.
For Southeast Asia, try the World Wildlife Federation.

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