A project to the rescue of the Yungas

A project to the rescue of the Yungas

A technology NGO that promotes reforestation has planted 100,000 trees to recover the natural ecosystem.

The southern yungas are one of the richest forest formations in Argentina, characterized by their high biological diversity and their protective role in soil and water retention. They are currently one of the natural systems most susceptible to human intervention and their preservation is an international priority according to the World Nature Forum (WWF). Unfortunately, the Yungas have been affected by the aggressive advance of the agricultural frontier, as well as the expansion of urbanized areas without proper planning.

Tree-Nation, a non-profit reforestation platform that uses self-developed software to connect citizens and businesses with plantation projects around the world, started the reforestation project as part of an environmental and social strategy. The objective is to conserve and restore the forest to recover the richness of the ecosystem. Approximately 100,000 trees have already been planted.

Maxime Renaudin, Founder and CEO of Tree Nation answers the key questions about this project:

- Why did you decide to reforest the Yungas?

- The Yungas ecosystem is a cloud forest very rich in biodiversity. During the 19th and 20th centuries, it suffered from selective logging due to the enormous value of the hardwoods in the forest. This resulted in the loss of the upper stratum, where much of the richness of the ecosystem is found.

Working to regenerate the Yungas ecosystem is a challenge due to the pressure of the agricultural frontier, and very rewarding due to the richness of the ecosystem and the social development it generates in the area. We are conserving and restoring the habitat of thousands of species together with local people, and we have worked for 12 years (between 1998 and 2010) in the Gran Chaco ecosystem.

- What was the state of the site prior to the Tree-Nation project?

- The forest where we are planting the trees for the Tree Nation project is an area where there has been selective logging, thus losing the tallest trees and a great diversity of species. Our job is to reverse this process. We intervene in the area by planting trees that will become the tallest in the area. Each seedling is produced in our nursery, and after planting, we take care of it for the first 5 years until it can take care of itself and give way to grow and regenerate the upper layer.

- What state of reforestation do you plan to reach?

- We are currently planting the species of the upper stratum, which today there are few individuals in the forest. We seek to restore the forest to its original state, in which all ecosystem functions and services can be fulfilled.

- When, if it can be specified?

- Recovering the upper stratum is a long-term job. We have identified some places in the area where we work, where the upper stratum is preserved. The trees appear to be over 150 years old and are about 35 meters tall. Achieving that result will not be something that those of us who are working today can see, but we will enjoy the process and create a solid and committed team that will continue with the task for decades to come.

We have been working on this project for many years. We currently have about 270 hectares in the restoration process and we can observe very positive results from year 5, when the planted trees begin to exceed the lower part of the forest in height.

- What is the current state of deforestation in Argentina / Latin America? What dangers does it entail?

- Unfortunately Argentina is one of the most deforested countries in the world, in the last three decades about 8 million hectares of forest have been lost and in general Latin America has followed the same path. Advancing the agricultural frontier, unplanned urbanization, and unsustainable extraction of natural resources contribute to the fragmentation and destruction of entire ecosystems, thus endangering countless species.

The yungas are one of the ecosystems with the greatest biodiversity in the country. Since 2007, more than 50 thousand hectares of native forest belonging to this ecoregion have been lost. Within the extension of the yungas in Argentina, we work in the province of Tucumán, one of the 5 provinces with the greatest biodiversity of mammals.

Video: David Grant of Project Rescue (October 2020).