8 Billion Trees operates nurseries throughout the Amazon Rainforest and beyond, leading afforestation projects that are helping to combat climate change while restoring local ecosystems and conserving wildlife.
Where Does 8 Billion Trees Operate?
To date, we have supported the planting of over 9,375,101 trees around the globe and have funded the conservation of over 166,000 acres of existing forest. Additionally, we fund wildlife conservation efforts near the Amazon Rainforest, where we fight to save injured and displaced animals who’ve lost their tree homes.
We currently plant and conserve trees in seven different countries around the world.
How Does 8 Billion Trees Decide Where the Trees Are Planted?
While planting and conserving trees everywhere they are needed is important, we have to start somewhere. And in doing so, we have to think about where trees are needed the “most.” In order to answer this, we aim to plant in “biodiversity hotspots” that contain a large number of unique and precious species but are gravely in danger of being destroyed.
There are two factors that must be met for an area to be classified as a hotspot:
- A minimum of 1,500 species of plants are present
- A minimum of 70 percent of the original vegetation has been removed or lost
As of today, there are 35 areas defined as hot spots, making up 2.3 percent of Earth. However, this small percentage supports and provides habitat for more than half of the earth’s plant species (that aren’t found anywhere else on the planet). Furthermore, over 42 percent of all bird, mammal, amphibian, and reptile species live in these “hotspots.”
As explained in our FAQ page, planting trees goes way beyond fighting habitat destruction. It recharges the environment, helps to stabilize micro-climates for farming, prevents harmful erosion, restores water systems, and ultimately provides a new source of income for the inhabitants of less developed areas. In addition to focusing on hotspots, 8 Billion Trees also takes into account the poverty level of a given area to help determine where the greatest impact can be made.
8 Billion Trees also helps to support some groups that do not fit these criteria, but still make an incredible difference for not only the environment but the people who live in it. We always check the legitimacy of the organizations we support and have included several important resources on our 8 Billion Trees review page.
8 Billion Trees Climate Change Research
To ensure our efforts are maximized for the greatest potential and that our projects’ sustainability goals are exceeded, we’re conducting research in order to understand the most effective and efficient ways to restore the environment and sequester carbon in the Amazon rainforest.
One such area is the Cerrado biome. This tropical ecoregion of Brazil includes the crucial highlands, also known as the Planalto, but also consists of various types of savannas with high levels of endemism (which means that organisms are found only there… nowhere else). The vegetation contained in the area features highly complex structures, in which there is a mosaic of environments with very particular floristic compositions, in addition to presenting high biodiversity.
The Cerrado vegetation establishes a set of characteristics that range from rural to forest areas; there are five basic types:
- Cerradão—mostly consisting of a drought-resistant (“xerophytic”) type of forest, with moderately spare and slim trees. Dr. Susan L. Woodward, Professor of Geography Emerita, Department of Geospatial Science, Radford University explained, “the term ‘cerrado’ is a Portuguese word meaning ‘closed’ and probably was used to underscore the difficulty of riding through the densely wooded parts of the savanna on horseback.”
- Cerrado sensu stricto—is a savanna woodland area where trees can reach up to 21 feet tall (7 meters), mostly where deep, well-drained soil exists.
- Campo cerrado-this contains savanna type vegetation, with poor soils, and scrublands.
- Dirty field (campo limpo)—these are shrub savannas, which have begun to regrow.
- Clean field (campo sujo)—these are areas that have been cleared by frequent fires, and where savanna grasses grow.
For each physiognomy of the Cerrado, there is a predominance of some plant species, and there is a great variation of soil types, which can be more clay rich, or sandier, or with more stones. These occur in addition to the dynamic relationship with the water cycles.
However, for carbon sequestration, it is interesting to note that several cerrado plants have extremely developed root structures, with only a small part of their structure exposed. Some are true underground trees!
This natural strategy is probably related to the long period without rain, according to our biologist, Eduardo, but these structures can certainly reach many meters below the ground, close to the water tables.
Much like an iceberg, when looking at a small plant that barely reached 5 meters in height, remember that it is possible that you are facing a plant with a root system that is many meters deep!
This biomass ratio above and below ground must be observed when calculating the carbon stock. Therefore, we take into account all the characteristics of the place in order to create more biologically balanced habitats, with a higher rate of natural regeneration and greater biodiversity.
Our research consists of recreating the environments exactly as they were before, monitoring the development of the plants, collecting data and recording the daily and reproductive activities of the animals.
Then, we review the data in our laboratory and perform tests to see exactly how much carbon dioxide is being removed from the restored environment.