On the first episode of Timeout Radio’s two-part series on reforestation, "Beneath the Roots", you heard about Costa Rica's journey to becoming the first tropical country to reverse deforestation. In the second episode of this series we stayed closer to home – actually right here in the city of Davis – and heard about reforestation efforts in California.
These were special episodes that I produced as part of my follow-on project for the Youth Ambassadors Program, a youth exchange funded by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. As part of their Spanish immersion cohort I had the amazing opportunity of traveling to Costa Rica with a group of 26 high school students selected from all around the United States. The Youth Ambassadors Program brings together high school students and mentors from across the Western Hemisphere to promote mutual understanding, increase leadership skills, and prepare young people to make a difference in their communities.
While we were in Costa Rica, we explored national parks, rainforests, volcanos, waterfalls, and beaches, and soaked in Costa Rican culture at museums, historic landmarks, restaurants, and markets in the city of San Jose. We went through leadership training, learned from entrepreneurs and changemakers, and volunteered with community organizations such as Green Wolf which you can hear more about in "Beneath the Roots (Part 1)". In the 1940s 75% of Costa Rica was covered in rainforests. By the late 1980s, more than a third of these forests were lost because of logging and farming. Then Costa Rica banned deforestation and created a national reforestation incentive program. Since then, Costa Rica became the first tropical country to entirely reverse deforestation, and half of the country is now covered by forests again.
California is dealing with deforestation too. Over the past few years, California experienced some catastrophic wildfires that seriously affected our forests, homes, and lives. This year alone, California had over 6000 wildfires that burned 300,000 acres across the state. Triggered by rising temperatures, drought, logging, and unattended campfires, these fires caused large-scale deforestation. In "Beneath the Roots (Part 2)" Erin Donley Marineau shared how Tree Davis enhances and expands our urban forest by teaching people in our community to plant and care for trees. Jimi Scheid from the State of California's Department of Forestry and Fire Protection discussed the work of Cal Fire's Reforestation Center right here in Davis, and why keeping our forests healthy and wildfire resilient is more important now than ever before.
If you enjoyed these episodes, please leave a comment on Timeout Radio's main show page to let me know!