Monday, December 08, 2008

Holiday Gift Ideas, Part II: Plant a Billion Trees

This holiday season, you can buy that conservationist a gift that will benefit millions of people: A tree. Not just any tree, but a tree in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil.

Each dollar donated to the Plant A Billion Trees Campaign plants a tree in Brazil. Consider planting one--or a whole patch--for your friends this season.

Forests, of course, provide so many benefits to us: They store enormous amounts of carbon dioxide, stabilizing climate change. They reduce erosion, keeping water clean. And they provide habitat for a multitude of creatures.

Few forests are in such trouble as Brazil's Atlantic Forest. There are some protected tracts, like the forest around Iguassu Falls (above). But only 7% of this forest remains, mainly in isolated patches.

This forest may not be as well known as the Amazon, but it's still one of the most important places on earth for wildlife. Many of the remaining forest tracts are located near Brazil's famous coastline, providing a beautiful backdrop.
More of this forest can be restored, and every dollar helps.

With a goal of having all the trees planted by 2015, the reforestation effort will remove 10 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere every year (the equivalent of taking 2.5 million cars off the road). It will provide 70,000 new jobs. It will reduce erosion, providing cleaner water for nearly 120 million people. And it will provide homes for a whole host of creatures (including coatis, pictured below).

How many times can you give a dollar and benefit millions of people, create jobs, reduce the impacts of climate change and lend wildlife a helping hand? Buy a tree this holiday season, and help restore another special place for people and nature. --Matt Miller

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