THE UK government has announced a new £16 million funding package to support environmentally friendly farming and replanting projects in the Amazon, taking its total investment to protecting tropical forests in Latin America this year to £80 million.
The announcement comes as part of an extension to the Partnerships for Forests (P4F) programme, which works to halt deforestation by developing eco-friendly land use in Brazil, Colombia, and Peru, protecting biodiversity, and boosting private investment in forest industries.
Minister for Climate Change, Lord Callanan, commented on the announcement: “Climate change and deforestation are challenges which stretch far beyond borders, which is why we all must act to protect our planet’s biodiversity.
“Our Partnerships for Forests programme will help stop tropical deforestation, protect fragile ecosystems, build up rural communities and repair damage to the worst-affected areas.”
Part of the funding will help to prevent deforestation by working with rural farming communities in Brazil to create environmentally friendly cattle ranches.
Traditional cattle farming techniques exhaust soil and cause deforestation as farmers look for new pastures to graze their cattle.
However, the funding will combat this issue by scaling up a project, run by PESCA, promoting rotational grazing and pasture reform to fight deforestation.
The UK funding will help to grow the project and attract private investment.
PESCA currently manages sustainable farmland covering 27,000 hectares of land and has the potential to become the standard bearer for bovine farming throughout the tropical forests of Latin America.
Government funding will also support the Xingu network, which supports 568 indigenous seed collectors in the Xingu basin in northern Brazil to re-sow precious local tree species.
Currently, Brazil lacks seed supply scale and infrastructure for mass reforestation, but the new funding will help to scale up Xingu’s operation.
Thanks to this extra support, estimates suggest UK backing could grow the this industry further, which would enable it to trade as much as 30 metric tonnes of seeds annually – enough to restore 900 hectares of rainforest, the equivalent of over 1,680 football pitches.
The announcement has been welcomed by environmental groups.
Justin Adams, Executive Director of the Tropical Forests Alliance, commented: “The Partnership for Forests program provides catalytic funding for innovative enterprises that balance sustainable production and millions of livelihoods with preventing deforestation.
“I applaud the UK government’s support for these programmes in South America and have seen the impact of their work on the ground.
“I am delighted these projects will now be able to scale up their work in the years ahead.”