By Allie Wisniewski, American Forests

Brazil is a nation rich with biodiversity and vast expanses of vibrant greenery. Last year, American Forests and Alcoa Foundation partnered with the Vitoria Regia Institute for the first time, making major habitat recovery efforts in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, an area that has suffered notoriously from agricultural deforestation and poor timber harvesting techniques. This year, however, we are excited to share a new focus with you.

A yellow-fronted woodpecker, native to Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. Credit: Ben Tavener

Every day, bauxite ore is produced at the Juruti mine in Brazil. Every day, this ore is transported by train and car approximately 50 kilometers from the country’s interior to the coastal port — that’s no small feat. In 2017, the Vitoria Regia Institute is commencing phase two of their mission to offset their carbon emissions, and has teamed up with both American Forests and Alcoa Foundation to transform their goal into a reality.

Enter: The Green Locomotive Project. Studies of past efforts show that each native tree of the Atlantic Forest, on average, sequesters 315 kilograms of carbon over a 20 year period. By restoring tropical rainforest near Juruti and inventorying the sequestered carbon, the Institute hopes to reduce their footprint and turn their ore transport process carbon neutral. In the future, they aspire to extend this neutrality to the plant as a whole.

With the help of American Forests and Alcoa Foundation, the Vitoria Regia Institute is planting a whopping 30,000 seedlings in the tropical Juruti region in 2017. Leading the project in Brazil is Sheyla Costa de Oliveira, who boasts years of experience in seedling planting practices and agroforestry systems. Should the seedlings maintain a survival rate of 80% per year after planting, the project will successfully facilitate carbon sequestration equivalent to 6,000 tons in 20 years.

American Forests, in collaboration with Alcoa Foundation, is constantly striving to identify and cooperate with partners who seek to restore and protect environmentally troubled regions through reforestation. We’re so excited to be working with the Vitoria Regia Institute, and to help facilitate real change for the climate and the health of our planet.

This is the second project highlight out of a series of 11 projects we are conducting this year with Alcoa Foundation.