The Canopy Project
The Canopy Project’s Contribution to Biodiversity
December 2, 2022
Biodiversity is essential to life on this planet – without it, we don’t eat or breathe. All systems fall apart without biological variability. EARTHDAY.ORG and The Canopy Project are making strides to preserve biodiversity through reforestation in two key areas of the world, Madagascar and Brazil.
The forests of Madagascar and Brazil have been hit hard by the effects of deforestation. This year, EARTHDAY.ORG and our partners are working to plant an initial 115,000 trees in these two countries to mitigate some of the effects of deforestation and protect species that are unique to these sections of the world.
In Brazil, we are working to reforest the habitat of the Golden Lion Tamarin by creating wildlife corridors through connecting old growth forests with new growth. The Golden Lion Tamarin is a small species of primate found only in the canopy of the Atlantic Forest of Brazil, located South of São Paulo. During the 1960’s the species almost went extinct, but because of reforestation efforts such as The Canopy Project, the population is now up to 2,750 from 200. This is quite the comeback and, with our reforestation efforts, the population and genetic diversity should only increase moving forward.
On the other side of the Atlantic, another reforestation project is underway on the coast of Madagascar.
Madagascar boasts one of the most unique ecosystems in the world, home to many endemic species such as lemurs. Our efforts in Madagascar work to plant varieties of trees that will benefit both wild populations of lemurs and the local communities. We chose to plant specific tree varieties such as the traveler’s tree (Ravenala madagascariensis) and Madagascar giant bamboo (Cathariostachys madagascariensis) for lemur species based on their eating patterns. These efforts can benefit the biodiversity of the area by replanting areas that were once agricultural and turning them back to endemic forest species. By examining the feces of the native lemurs, a team was able to determine the fruits they eat most. Our planting partners then set out to plant these tree species in areas that would most benefit populations of lemurs.
The Canopy Project also works to plant cash crops, plants that may be sold for money, to benefit the local population, including vanilla and clove. These cash crops help stimulate the local economy whilst sequestering large amounts of carbon and can lower the amount of illegal timber farming.
On top of economic stimulus and habitat rehabilitation, we work in both areas to educate the public on best agricultural practices and how endemic tree plantings can better the whole community. With the knowledge gained communities can better realize the forests are not something to be taken advantage of but something that can benefit them if they remain in their natural state.
By donating to The Canopy Project you can help support these projects and others like it around the world. In 2022 alone we are projected to plant nearly 3 million trees worldwide; with your help, we can plant much more in 2023!