We have all heard the phrase “Save The Rainforest” thrown around as a rallying cry to fight climate change. Aside from being a simple platitude, what would saving the rainforest really entail and how would you do it?
Carbonfund has spent the last decade investing and developing more than 750,000 acres of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) projects in the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest that are helping to do just that. The Envira Amazonia Project, the Purus Project and the Russas-Valparaiso Projects have reduced over 16 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions in their first 10 years of operation. By mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, these projects help to combat climate change while also having many other social and environmental benefits.
The Environmental Defense Fund estimates that wide spread global deforestation is responsible for about 20% of the impact on global climate change. Deforestation also affects local animal habitats, sensitive flora and fauna, and indigenous peoples. Preventing the destruction of existing rainforests for logging, commercial agriculture, and cattle ranching is a critical step in stopping the advance of global warming. As a practical matter, with global population growth, we simply must find productive and efficient ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and mass deforestation around the world.
The Envira Amazonia Project, the Purus Project, and the Russas-Valparaiso Projects also directly benefit their local communities. They offer employment opportunities and establish alternative sources of income for the local residents. These projects provide agricultural extension courses and grant official land tenure. The Envira Amazonia Project is exploring ways to help commercialize the collection, transport and sale of açaí, rubber and medicinal plants. The programs offered by the Purus Project include building a health clinic, facilitating doctor and dentist visits, and donating supplies to the local school. The Russas-Valparaiso Projects benefit their local communities by building health clinics, renovating the local schools, constructing community bathrooms, providing free transportation assistance to encourage community participation, distributing mosquito nets and supporting an association for açaí and manioc flour. As a result, the Russas-Valparaiso Projects were validated and verified to Gold Level Distinction for exceptional community benefits.
There are enormous environmental benefits of these four Brazilian Amazon Rainforest projects. The Purus Project achieved Gold Level Distinction due to exceptional biodiversity benefits as there were at least two endangered flora species identified at the Purus Project as classified on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. These endangered flora species are Car-cara (Aniba rosaeodora) and Baboonwood (Virola surinamensis). In addition, numerous IUCN vulnerable and near threatened species, including short-eared dogs, jaguars, giant anteaters, and lowland tapirs, have been photographed at the Purus Project. These projects also help to improve the local water quality while controlling erosion by retaining top soil.
All of Carbonfund’s carbon offset projects are third-party validated and verified. The Envira Amazonia Project, the Purus Project, and the Russas-Valparaiso Projects have been validated and verified by Environmental Services, Inc., the Rainforest Alliance / IMAFLORA, and SCS Global Services. They meet the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standards (CCBS) with Gold Level Distinction while also achieving the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). In fact, the Envira Amazonia Project was validated and verified to the Triple Gold Level for climate adaptation, along with Gold Level for exceptional community and biodiversity benefits. This project is incorporating climate adaptation measures, promoting a pro-poor initiative, and conserving several vulnerable tree species along with numerous endemic bird species. An ornithologist hired by the Envira Amazonia Project identified approximately 300 bird species (of an estimated 782 species) in just two weeks along 20 kilometers of the Jurupari River.
Carbonfund supports Energy Efficiency, Forestry and Renewable Energy projects around the globe. These projects meet the international standards of Verra, Climate Action Reserve, Gold Standard, the American Carbon Registry, and other international carbon reduction certification protocols. Carbonfund has offset over 38 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions while supporting over 215 projects and planting more than one million trees around the world.