We are launching a 7-year reforestation campaign to grow and plant 750,000 native and endemic trees, and to restore the important natural resources that will help revitalize our islands after the impact of hurricanes Irma and Maria. Our goal is to recover and improve the forested ecosystems in natural protected areas and affected communities throughout PR. Additionally, restoring the trees and forests contribute to the overall well-being of the 3.4 million inhabitants of the island.
On September 2017, Puerto Rico was struck by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Their combined effect resulted in heavy forest cover loss. Studies from 2007 show that Puerto Rico had over 1.6 billion trees. After the passing of the hurricanes preliminary results of the Forest Inventory Analysis show that in some areas of Puerto Rico tree mortality reached 30% while 95% of the surviving trees lost their canopy. Based on these preliminary assessments, Puerto Rico lost around 128 million trees.
By maximizing the production capacity of our tree nurseries, we will plant 750,000 native and endemic trees - which are more resistant to natural phenomena such as hurricanes - as well as fruit trees, during a 7-year period across the islands of Puerto Rico. We will also monitor and maintain all planted areas to ensure higher survival rates of trees. Tracking of planted trees will mostly be conducted by volunteers, who will receive the appropriate training.
The project's goal is to recover the forested ecosystems in natural protected areas and recover or improve green areas in urban wildlife interfaces and affected communities throughout the island. The reforestation strategy is designed to engage multiple community sectors in sound, uniform reforestation practices to help Puerto Rico recover and enhance its biodiversity, improve watershed health, protect the habitat of endangered species, and maintain its soil health.