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First Steps to Replace Damaged Forests Pledged June 22, 2012
Satellite Image
Palm plantation on the left, next to part of a native forest that was felled to make way for it.
The United States, Rwanda and groups in Brazil have pledged to restore at least 45 million acres of damaged forests.

The commitments were announced on the eve of the Rio+20 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro at a press conference by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the environmental advocate Bianca Jagger.

The reforestation efforts are the first step in complying with the Bonn Challenge, which was launched in September 2011 and aims to restore 375 million acres of forest by 2020.

The U.S. will initially replant 37.5 million acres in 20 forest watersheds, while Rwanda plans to restore 5 million acres and the Brazilian groups have committed to restoring 2.5 million acres in the Mata Atlantica forest on the country’s eastern coast.

Repairing other forests worldwide would restore their ability to support people and wildlife and would significantly increase global capacity to process greenhouse gases, according to IUCN.

Photo: File