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400 billion trees: Partnering to protect the world's largest rainforest

The fate of the Amazon rainforest remains pivotal in the struggle to reverse the decline of nature.

Teeming with an astonishing array of flora and fauna, it serves as an immense reservoir of biodiversity. The vast ecosystem of 400 billion trees also plays a central role in maintaining the global and regional climate.

Deforestation, climate change and unsustainable practices threaten the indigenous trees and plants, the animals that live amongst them, and the ecosystems that bind them together.

ICMM members Minsur and Hydro, are acting to protect and restore nature in the rainforest. From collaborating with local universities to research risks to biodiversity, to long-term projects to restore millions of hectares of forest, they are acting to protect the future of biodiversity in this world-renowned region.

Restoring the rainforest

In the Amazonas region in Brazil, Taboca, a subsidiary of the Peruvian company Minsur, is focusing on improving biodiversity through education and restoration.

It runs a wildlife search and rescue initiative, which contributes to the monitoring and recovery of several species. There is also an environmental education programme for employees on biodiversity.

Restoration efforts are well underway, with 12,000 native species of the amazon biome planted in 2022 alone as part of a coordinated recovery programme. Each month, the Minsur team monitors the seedlings and the biodiversity within the area and shares the data with local organisations. 

Already, several species of invertebrates, mammals, reptiles and birds have been recorded that were previously unknown in the region. 

Conservation on a grand scale

On a wider scale, the Biomas partnership - including Vale - is restoring, conserving and preserving four million hectares of land over the next 20 years, an area the size of Switzerland.

The Brazilian areas targeted by the Biomas project include the Amazon Rainforest, the Atlantic Forest and the Cerrado region. Early work is underway in identifying those areas most in need, creating nurseries for native flora and engaging with local communities and government. 

Pilot projects will lead on to full-scale rollout in 2025, with two million hectares of degraded forest targeted for restoration with the planting of two million native trees. Another two million hectares will be safeguarded in perpetuity, helping to protect over 4,000 species of animals and plants.

Environmental research

The Brazil-Norway Biodiversity Research Consortium (BRC) is developing new environmental research in the eastern Brazilian Amazon.

Founded in 2013, the consortium brings together research, teaching and technological innovation. Over the past ten years, it has approved over two dozen research projects and seen 60 scientific papers published on nature, with over 270 people benefitting from scholarships.

Hydro has invested approximately BRL 15 million in the BRC so far, and partners with four research institutions: the Federal University of Pará, the Emílio Goeldi Paraense Museum, the Federal Rural University of the Amazon, and the University of Oslo. 

In its second decade, the BRC is researching heavily in the field of biodiversity restoration. 

My expectation is that we have many years to accumulate sufficient information for forest restoration as a public policy in Pará and the Amazon as a whole. What we are doing at the mine in Paragominas will be very useful on a large scale.

With these programmes, and many more, ICMM members are acting to protect nature in the rainforest and support a nature positive future for the world. 

Read more about the work of Hydro in Paragominas in this detailed photo diary by ICMM President and CEO, Rohitesh Dhawan, who recently visited the site.