Several planting projects in the Amazon and Central America are highlighted below. There are more available projects in this region of the world. To learn about specific planting locations information and details on the planting project, click to view info about all our planting locations. 

Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, Michoacán, Mexico

Monarch Butterflies on tree branch with a blue sky

Every year, Monarch butterflies migrate thousands of miles to winter in the forests of Mexico. As pollinators, they provide an invaluable ecological service to forests and farmlands across their range. Conservation of the monarch’s winter forest habitat is very important to the survival of monarchs. The Mexican Government recognized the importance of these forests and created the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in 1986. Although logging was outlawed in the Reserve area, illegal logging remains a problem today, and the resulting deforestation threatens the wintering habitat of the monarch butterfly, and thus the long-term survival of the monarch.

The Gifted Tree now has a tree planting project in the state of Michoacán, Mexico to help reforest and conserve the monarch’s Mexico habitat. Your tree planting in and around the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve focuses on both farmland conversion and forest restoration to improve biodiversity habitats. By densely planting native species with the cooperation of local landowners and indigenous communities, we can make sure that the area is reforested for future generations of people and wildlife.  Additionally, communities and landowners will be taught sustainable forestry practices such as proper planting techniques, sustainable harvesting, the importance of recycling and waste management, and land and plant protection. The project in Mexico will plant native species, including Oyamel pine, smooth-bark Mexican pine, Chihuahua pine, and Mexican cypress. All with the goal of making sure this migration corridor is restored and protected for future generations of monarchs.

Amazon Rain Forest, Rondonia, Brazil

Planting trees in the ravaged Amazon rain forest of Brazil

With 4 million trees disappearing each year, the Amazon Rain Forest, one of the three largest primary forests in the world, is suffering.  The deforestation is mainly caused by a slash and burn philosophy used by the local farmers, a technique consisting of burning land to provide temporary soil fertilization to grow crops. After exhausting exploited land, farmers abandon it and replicate the process on other nearby lands in a circle of endless deforestation.

The area of our tree plantings, in the State of Rondônia, is the area most affected by deforestation in the Amazon. Among the species to be planted, all are local. These include the cocoa tree, which will enable producers to generate additional income by selling cocoa; the acai, which produces berries with highly nutritious qualities; the cupuaçu, which produces a vegetable butter sought after for its soothing and repairing properties; Roucouyer and andiroba, known for their medicinal properties; peach palm and Amazon walnut, whose fruits or nuts are consumed by local populations; and courbaril, which will eventually be used to produce quality wood.

Planting your gift tree in Brazil will have wide-ranging community benefits; restore burned areas, conservation of tropical biodiversity, improvement of the water cycle, diversify forest fruit production, ensure food and nutritional security, and store carbon to fight climate change. Besides tree planting, our program teaches local farmers to integrate agroforestry into their farming practices allowing them to earn more income per acre than before. Thus, they are becoming aware of the importance of forest cover for their food crops, and of the ability of trees planted in and around their fields to enrich cultivated soils. As a result, slash-and-burn farming loses its interest. Your gift tree thus makes it possible to mobilize local populations towards a sustainable agricultural production method and thus break the vicious circle of deforestation by burning.

Amazon Rain Forest, San Martin, Peru

Girl holding a potted tree sapling in Peru

Originally covered by tropical rainforest and wetlands, the San Martin region in northern Peru, has suffered from quick and intense deforestation since the end of the twentieth century due to the construction of roads and the development of farming programs encouraging the cultivation of rice and coffee. About 4 million acres of ancient forest have already been felled over the past fifty years, and with them, the natural foundation the area needs to ensure the well-being of its people.

Planting of your gift tree in Peru will help restore this part of the Amazon forest by planting various species of trees which will be highly beneficial to the local communities: Maya walnut trees, capirones, cedralas, and guapuruvus. Not only will these trees yield seeds that provide an important source of income for the native population but produce other positive benefits as well.

The Mayan walnut tree provides an important nutritive food source, as well as medicinal qualities. The latex seeping from Maya walnut trees is endowed with precious curative properties against asthma, anemia, and rheumatism, whereas the bark of the capirona tree is used to cure skin and eye infections. Finally, the Mayan walnut tree helps promote biodiversity conservation by producing fruit that can feed 85 % of the bird and mammal species in the area.

El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico

El Yunque National Forest birds-eye view, Puerto Rico

Located on the Caribbean Island of Puerto Rico, the El Yunque National Forest is the sole tropical rain forest in the U.S. National Forest System and is one of the world’s most diverse tropical rainforests. The forest’s relatively small 28,000-acre size belies its importance. It differs significantly from all the other U.S. National Forests because of its year-round tropical climate and immense biodiversity, serving as home to hundreds of plant and animal species.

Revered as a holy place for over a thousand years by the prehistoric Taino inhabitants, the El Yunque National Forest has been a continually managed reserve for well over 100 years. In September 2017, a powerful hurricane hit the island head-on and caused widespread damage. In the storm’s aftermath, not only was critical forest infrastructure destroyed, but most trees were uprooted and the whole forest’s delicate ecological balance, home to 54 critical, rare, endemic and endangered animal species, was thrown out of whack. The entire forest eco-system now must be re-balanced.

Planting of your gift tree in Puerto Rico will help to re-establish this national treasure and the environmental well-being of Puerto Rico. The El Yunque National Forest staff is working with teams of volunteers, mostly local Girl Scouts, to replant the forest which is essential to restoring the exuberant tropical vegetation required to sustain the wildlife species found in this National Forest, many of which exist nowhere else on the planet.

This project is currently full and unavailable.

Lavial, Haiti

The Gifted Tree planting project in Haiti

Haiti is now one of the most deforested countries in the world. In 1920, 60% of Haitian territory was covered with forests, compared to only 2% today. The massive loss of forest cover is mainly due to the production of charcoal, which is the main source of energy for the population. Deforestation leads to soil erosion, reduced productivity of arable land, increased droughts and desertification of territories. Devastating Hurricane Matthew, in October 2016, also destroyed a huge part of the remaining standing trees. This southeast part of the country is facing serious erosion and advanced soil degradation due to deforestation by local populations to meet their energy needs, to generate some resources from the sale of coal and to open up new agricultural areas.

This new project started with the building of a nursery to produce the tree seedlings. While forest technicians and international facilitators will monitor the project to ensure its sustainability, local community members will be actively involved in the project. Continuous training of beneficiary families will be organized to introduce them to agroforestry and promote the sustainable value of the trees. The most experienced individuals will even be part of the monitoring team.

Planting of your memorial gift tree in Haiti will be a cashew tree. The planted cashew trees will enrich a multitude of species already planted in the area (mango trees, acerolas, and avocados). The cashew production from these trees will not only provide food for families but also enable sales in the local markets. The Lavial project thus makes it possible to contribute both to household food security and to improving their incomes.