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  • Aktion Amazonas

Roots of Revival: Reforesting the Chiquitano Forest

The tipa, the cuchi, and the curupaú are three of the species that local farmers from the Chiquitano forest communities are replanting to combat deforestation, after many species dried up and died due to the lack of rain.

The heatwaves and drought periods experienced in different areas of Latin America over the past few years have been unprecedented, marking a significant moment in the history of the Amazon Rainforest, as much of its flora and fauna have died. In Bolivia, the intense dryness has been further exacerbated by the effects of the El Niño phenomenon and by wildfires, which occur annually in the Santa Cruz region, acting as catalysts for drought. The consequences of the drought have been witnessed firsthand by indigenous forest communities, who fully depend on their crops' livelihood. They have found their rainwater harvesting structures empty at the end of the rainy season when they are expected to be at their fullest.

Moreover, the Chiquitano forest suffers from the continuous loss of millions of hectares of tree cover due to destructive activities like logging and mining. This deforestation worsens the drought situation, as temperatures rise and precipitation decreases in affected areas. The resulting deficit of moisture in the soil threatens to dry out the few remaining natural water sources.

Why trees?

Trees help combat climate change, prevent land degradation, remove human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, and manage and conserve important ecosystems. They improve air and water quality, which are essential to a diverse range of plant and animal species.

Tree roots help stabilize the soil, preventing erosion and maintaining land fertility.

Moreover, trees can absorb and store CO2 from the atmosphere, thereby helping to mitigate global warming. They are essential for drought prevention, as they absorb and store water during dry periods, ensuring a more consistent supply of water for both human consumption and agriculture.

This is why Aktion Amazonas has carried out a climate-related project (CCAM) in the Santa Cruz forested area to rebuild the tree cover and replant many of the lost species, in partnership with FCBC. It is important to highlight that, besides the crucial work of protecting existing forests, Aktion Amazonas works with both afforestation (planting trees where there was no recent tree cover) and reforestation (re-establishing forests).

In the Chiquitano forest in Santa Cruz, trees are first planted as small seedlings. Once they have grown, they are replanted around water sources and reservoirs. This helps to provide shade, regulate temperature, and reduce water evaporation. The types of trees planted include both woody trees and fruit trees for local consumption.

Maia Galmés Feuer // Ditlev Damhus

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