Tropical forests are well known for being the “lungs” of our planet. Through photosynthesis, the trees in these forests produce oxygen and remove enormous amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, helping to mitigate global warming.
The world’s most famous tropical forests found on lowlands, like those of the Amazon or Borneo, are celebrated for their ability to store carbon. The Amazon rainforest itself holds up to five years’ worth of human carbon emissions in its trees and soil.
Ten million hectares of forest: that’s the total area The Nature Conservancy (TNC) aims to see protected or restored by the Africa Forest Carbon Catalyst, launched this week. Adapting a business model from Silicon Valley’s technology startups, TNC intends to help local enterprises raise $300 million of investment by 2025 for forest conservation and restoration projects in Africa that will avoid some 20 million tonnes of CO2 emissions and improve the lives and livelihoods of up to half a million people.
Around 20 percent of the world’s remaining forests are found in Africa; here, as elsewhere, they are under extreme pressure.