image: Google Earth
Brazil and Indonesia get most of the public attention when it comes to deforestation, but the issue is also huge in parts of Africa. Now the Republic of the Congo (not to be confused with its much larger neighbor, the Democratic Republic of the Congo) wants to do something about that and hopes to raise $2.6 billion to replant parts of the second large forest in the world over the next 10 years.Reuters reports that the plan is replant trees and establish plantations over 1 million hectares (2.47 million acres) of previously forested land.
Congo has lost one-third of the forested land it historically had.
For its part, Congo plans on contributed $432 million to the reforestation efforts, with the rest coming from both donors and investors--the latter of which would presumably profit from the products produced in the plantations.
African forests store as much carbon as does the Amazon by area, and slowing deforestation both there and throughout the tropics is key to preventing the worst aspects of climate change. On the whole deforestation is responsible for emitting nearly as much carbon as the whole the transportation sector.
How much of this planned reforestation attempts to recreate natural forests and how much will be in agricultural plantations is key to determining the carbon storage of the plan and ultimately its impact in preventing climate change. In general plantations store far lower amounts of carbon by area as do intact, mature forests.