Forest restoration is vital to combating climate change. Trees absorb and store carbon dioxide as they grow, with forests currently absorbing 30% of the world’s carbon emissions.
Forests in tropical regions such as the Atlantic Forest tend to be able to store atmospheric carbon more efficiently than those in the northern hemisphere. Originally, the Atlantic Forest, one of the richest biomes and the second most endangered in the world, covered 17 Brazilian states, but today only 12 per cent of its original area is preserved, putting thousands of species that do not exist elsewhere at risk.
We developed the Araucaria Conservation Programme in collaboration with Apremavi, a Brazilian NGO specialising in conservation and restoration projects since 1987. The initiative is set to restore at least 7,000 hectares over ten years – equivalent to 9,800 football pitches targeting an area of particular risk, the Forest of Araucarias, which today only has 3 per cent of its original area preserved.
The focus for the project’s first year (2022) has been on mapping potential areas for restoration as well as restoring over 80 hectares of land in the state of Santa Catarina. Planting has been finalised in August and a total of 38 thousand seedlings of native trees were planted, including Araucaria angustifolia, Podocarpus lambertii and Drimys brasiliensis.
The programme will also enable the certification of a much broader territory under international voluntary carbon and biodiversity standards. The certification will measure carbon sequestration, meaning the project will play a key role in Tetra Pak’s commitment to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions in its operations by 2030. The aim is for this territory to reach up to 13.7 million hectares – an area the size of England – and encourage other organisations to join the initiative.