February 17, 2017
The MPS provider has activated its first reforestation project in Pine Ridge, South Dakota.
A partner of PrintReleaf, Trees, Water and People (TWP), has started its reforestation project, which is the first in the US and is based on an Indian Reservation at Pine Ridge covering 3,468.85 miles. The reservation is the eighth largest in the US, and is bigger than the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined.
The northern area has a population of 30,000 who still “rely on the land for fishing, hunting and gathering”, because only four percent of the area is “suitable for agriculture”, and the people here are “among the poorest in the US”. When PrintReleaf was developing, the company concentrated on areas where reforestation would have “the greatest” impact ,and some of the factors considered were the “environmental benefits, local economy, and job creation”.
Others included the “ability of the chosen forestry partners to achieve PrintReleaf Certification from SGS International”, and among the first of the certified projects were the Amazon, Dominican Republic, Madagascar and Mexico. American businesses engaged with PrintReleaf Exchange desired reforestation on American land even though they understood the need to reforest other areas of the world.
The partnership between PrintReleaf and TWP was “partly in response to customer interest”, although PrintReleaf said that is a “great honour to serve the land [and] its tribal people” as well as help to fight the environmental changes to climate. TWP and the Oglala Lakota Native Americans work together to fight environmental challenges, and have been frustrated by “changing climate, land rights issues, and poverty […] greening the landscape to combat climate change through carbon sequestration and developing income opportunities are paramount to the Pine Ridge Project”.
Keith A. Rose, Environmental Projection Agency, said: “Tribal Nations will likely be one of the most heavily impacted populations in North America by climate change due to several factors including an intimate, long-standing relationship with the land, limited and relatively non-diverse economies, poor energy security and transportation options, and the practice of subsistence activities in many communities.”
PrintReleaf aims to plant 30,000 trees in 2017 and build on that in the future, as long as funding allows, to create a “sustainable reforestation programme” at Pine Ridge Reservation, as well as training locals to care for the trees and plant seedlings, and also aims to reforest areas where wildlife will inhabit. This is the third year of this project, and in the long-term it is hoped that fire-degraded landscapes will be restored.
The organisation also hopes that there will be an improvement in the skills and livelihoods of Lakota youths who will be planting the trees. It is hoped that the project will help to “rebuild Lakota’s sense of ownership and responsibility over the tribal lands”. With an area of 20,000 acres of fire zone to cover, the choice of where to plant is important for success and to “achieve goals”.
PrintReleaf is partnered with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Oglala Lakota tribe, so that site location can be determined and any access issues can be resolved.
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