Earth Day 2016 will take place tomorrow, April 22, 2016, and this year’s theme is Trees for the Earth - Let’s Get Planting. Trees are critical in slowing climate change and creating a sustainable global future. Wildlife Alliance, through our Southern Cardamom Forest Protection Program and our Tropical Reforestation Project, is working to protect and rebuild the forests of the Southern Cardamom Mountain Range.
Forests are vital to slowing climate change because they act as carbon sinks, meaning they absorb more CO2 than they produce. Carbon dioxide is a major greenhouse gas that causes the earth’s atmosphere to heat up. Forests also filter polluted air, providing people and wildlife with clean air to breathe. Over the last six years, Wildlife Alliance’s forest protection program has conserved and protected 2 million acres of pristine forest and our Tropical Reforestation Project has planted over 917,000 trees. The Reforestation Project sites are all in areas that have been cleared of tropical forests. The clear-cut areas experience flooding, soil erosion and runoff, and are plagued by invasive weed species. In 2015, 760,273 seedlings were germinated in the Chi Phat shade net and 297, 071 seedlings were transferred from the Chi Phat nursery to multiple planting fields.
Forests are also vital to communities, helping them achieve economic and environmental sustainability. All of our projects employ local community members, providing them with a sustainable income. Wildlife Alliance works to alleviate poverty and stop the destruction of tropical forests throughout the Tropical Belt. In Cambodia alone, 8.2 million people rely on forest slash-and-burn practices. Wildlife Alliance is working with communities through our Community Agriculture Development Program to teach them sustainable farming practices and is employing other locals to reforest previously slashed areas.