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Ecuador expects to set a Guinness Record for mass and simultaneous reforestation

Lorena Tapia, minister of environment planted a tree in the launching of the campaign. Photo: Presidency

“What Ecuador seeks is the largest amount of people planting at the same time, in different places,” the official affirmed during the presentation of the campaign in Guapulo’s park in Quito, where she planted a tree.

From Mexico, via Skype, director of Guinness Record for Latin America Carlos Martinez explained that this is a new variation of a current record which is exhibited by Turkey, where 10,624 people planted trees at the same time in the same place.

“The record is not based on time; it is not based on seeds, but in the amount of people participating. The new thing we establish for Ecuador, to make it more inclusive and at a national level, is that we will allow this record to be done in multiple places at the same time,” Martinez explained.

He said that this Ecuadorian initiative will involve more regions and people, but it will also increase the difficulty of coordination because all places chosen should start at the same time, at 8:30 am in this case.

The minister recalled that the Ecuadorian government has carried out a successful reforestation strategy, such as the “Programa Socio Bosque” (Forest Program) which has allowed to preserve and protect more than 1,5 million hectares (4,3% of the country’s surface) as well as investing about 74 million dollars in reforestation since 2008 to date. Moreover, during the last seven years, 50 million trees in 120,000 hectares have been reforested, according to official information.

Lorena Tapia announced that 35,000 volunteers will plant trees in more than 150 places in the country. Photo: Presidency

“Zero deforestation” goal

Tapia announced that the plans aim at achieving “zero deforestation until 2017 in the country.” According to sources in the Ministry of Environment, the annual deforestation rate since 1990 to 2000 was of about 92,000 hectares a year; from 2000 to 2012 it ranged 65,000 and from that year until now it estimates 47,000, a decreasing trend, due to the effect of public environmental policies.

The Scouts explorers group will actively participate in the event, as well as the private sector, Nestle in this case. Moreover, citizens in general were invited to participate and send a picture of their environmental action through social networks using the hashtag #SiembratonRecordGuinness or #Siembraton.

The attempt to beat the record will be monitored and validated on-site by the vice president of the World Record Guinness (WRG) Marco Frigatti.

Rodriguez affirmed that the WRG will be present and alert to monitor the activity and added that “if everything goes well, we will let the world know that a new record has been set in Ecuador from our platform, and we will say that it is a positive record of which we are proud of.”

Ivan Proaño, Scouts representative in Ecuador, told about the experience that this group has had during the last five years of carrying out mass reforestations, with more than 30,000 trees planted in 11 cities of the country.

On the other hand, Rodrigo Camacho, executive president of Nestlé, said that it is an honor for the company to be part of this “great initiative” because “the more companies, workers and families participate (…) the more we help to solve this climate crisis the planet is living.”

The main causes of deforestation rates in Ecuador are the expansion of agricultural frontiers (the transformation of forests for other uses), community survival activities and road opening.

Many trees were planted in Guapulo’s park during the launching of the campaign to establish a new Guinness Record. Photo: Presidency