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By Alex Kirby
New forests are an apparently promising way to tackle global heating: the trees absorb carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas from human activities. But there's a snag, because permanently lower river flows can be an unintended consequence.
Seven Amazon countries signed a pact Friday to protect the world's largest tropical rainforest in response to the record-breaking number of wildfires that have blazed through the Amazon rainforest this summer, Reuters reported.
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To achieve this goal, China has reassigned more than 60,000 soldiers to plant the trees. According to the Asia Times, a large regiment from the People's Liberation Army, along with some of the nation's armed police force, have been withdrawn from their posts near the northern border to work on the task.
The announcement was made last week by Zhang Jianlong, the head of China's State Forestry Administration, in an effort to shed the country's image as a major polluter and become a global environmental leader, the Telegraph reported.
By Mike Gaworecki
Last Thursday, at the UN climate talks in Bonn, Germany (known as COP23), the World Resources Institute (WRI) announced that $2.1 billion in private investment funds have been committed to efforts to restore degraded lands in the Caribbean and Latin America.
The investments will be made through WRI's Initiative 20×20, which has already put 10 million hectares (about 25 million acres) of land under restoration thanks to 19 private investors who are supporting more than 40 restoration projects.
More than 800,000 people turned out Monday in India to plant trees in hopes of breaking a world record.
Uttar Pradesh officials distributed 50 million tree saplings across the state to help India increase its forest cover and to break the Guinness World record for the number of trees planted in 24 hours—which was set by Pakistan in 2013 with 847,275 trees—the AP reported. Students, lawmakers, government officials and others headed out to plant trees at designated spots along roads, rail tracks and in forested lands.
Uttar Pradesh's Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, told the AP that this record-breaking attempt would help spread awareness and enthusiasm about afforestation and conservation.
"The world has realized that serious efforts are needed to reduce carbon emissions to mitigate the effects of global climate change. Uttar Pradesh has made a beginning in this regard," he said.
The Indian government is encouraging all states to start tree-planting drives like the one in Uttar Pradesh. The government has designated more than $6.2 billion for this purpose alone. India pledged to push its forest cover to 235 million acres by 2030.
Sites where the saplings have been planted with be monitored through aerial photographs, Sanjeev Saran, senior forest official, told the AP. Normally, only 60 percent of saplings survive so it is important for the government to check how many are thriving or dying.
Auditors from Guinness World Records, working "incognito" according to Saran, are checking on the numbers of saplings planted.
"They are out in the field and are supervising the plantation drive," he said. "We do not know who they are or where they are at this point in time."