The Amazon Rainforest is the largest rainforest on Earth, famous for its incredible plant and wildlife diversity. It is also one of the most important storehouses of carbon on the planet. With 3 billion trees, the rainforest accounts for a quarter of the atmospheric carbon absorbed worldwide each year. Conservation of these globally important rainforests is one the most pressing issues of our time.

In some regions of the Amazon, government entities are encouraging communities to cut down forests for economic development. But, as rainforest is lost to agriculture and development, and degraded by poor timber harvesting techniques, the Amazon’s ability to reduce the atmospheric CO2 that drives climate change is greatly diminished.

Palm plantation in Juruti, Brazil

The increased demand for palm oil has led to more palm plantations, like this one just east of Juruti, Brazil, which are a leading cause of deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest. Photo credit: SLRDTM.

In Juruti, Brazil, American Forests has been working with Instituto Vitoria Regia, a Brazilian nonprofit, to help restore areas that have suffered substantially in recent years due to deforestation.

These projects build relationships between local communities and the land that supports them through environmental education in schools. Children within the community will have the opportunity and responsibility to grow and plant saplings, including economically important species, such as cocoa, palmheart and native fruit trees, allowing them to understand the valuable resources the forests provide.

By educating children and their families about the value of conserving forests and enlisting them to participate in the process, they will be empowered to continue to make a difference in their environment — positively impacting forests, wildlife and water sources — in addition to helping control their own economic growth and contributing to their community’s well-being.

American Forests is working to restore vital habitat that has been lost to deforestation.