June 2, 2008

Brazil Launches Large Reforestation Program in Amazon

Brazil on Friday formally launched a large reforestation project to grow 1 billion trees in the country's Amazon area in five years.

The project, "One Billion Trees for the Amazon," was launched at an inaugural ceremony attended by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Ana Julia Carepa, governor of the state of Para, where the Amazon situated.

At the ceremony, Lula and Carepa symbolically sowed seeds of endangered species of trees. The final target is set for 2013.

The project will involve 143 municipalities in Para to consolidate the state's image as a protector and repairer of the Amazon rainforest.

Along with the Bank of the Amazon and government-funded Banco do Brasil, the Para government will finance the program with subsidies worth 600 million U.S. dollars.

The project will benefit 120,000 agricultural producers, who will help reach almost half of the final target.

The program will also prevent the emission of over 10 million tons of carbon per year, part of Para's climate change plan aimed at reducing carbon emissions, deforestation and environmental degradation.

Additionally, the Brazilian government will set up a research center to study native species in the Amazon, and develop technology for the genetic improvement of species.