Putting the carbon back in the sink

20×20, LATIN AMERICA 1 minute read

Initiative 20x20 brings together 17 countries in an effort to restore 50 million of hectares of degraded land in Latin America and the Caribbean through agroforestry, soil conservation, and more.

The forests of Latin America and the Caribbean are home to some of the world’s most ecologically rich habitats. In recent years, 20% of forest lands in the region have been completely deforested. Another 20% has been badly degraded. These devastating changes are driven, in part, by small- and medium-scale agriculture. Trees act as important carbon sinks and cutting them down erases this potential. Consequently, agriculture and forestry are responsible for the bulk of greenhouse gas emissions in the Latin American region. Initiative 20×20 is a regional partnership bringing together 70 technical organizations and institutions, 22 private investors and governments across Latin America and the Caribbean. The initiative was developed in 2014 to bring at least 20 million hectares of land into restoration by the end of this year. To do this, the initiative supports reforestation and the conservation of forests. Efforts to recover land functionality are carried out through agroforestry and silvopasture (the integration of trees, forage plants and animal grazing in a mutually beneficial way). These techniques, along with other sustainable land use schemes, promote soil conservation and rehabilitation, carbon storage and soil water retention. They also help in biodiversity conservation and recovery. Seventeen Latin American and Caribbean countries and three regional programs have committed to the initiative and begun restoring more than 50 million hectares (an area roughly the size of France) of degraded land.