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The green inside the Amazon rainforest

Alan Neuhauser
Aug 17, 2022
Illustration of a shovel in a heap of dirt, the handle made from a fancy pen.
Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Rescuing the Amazon from logging, ranching and climate change has captured the hearts of activists around the world. It's also opened the wallets of capitalists.

Why it matters: The Amazon's survival is pegged to critical, and expensive, reforestation efforts that would restore a vital carbon sink and ecosystem.

  • Firms like re.green are among the companies pooling money aimed at revitalizing rainforests, and making investment returns in the process.

What's happening: Re.green says it has raised $76.8 million from four investors to invest in Brazil's Amazon and Atlantic rainforests.

  • The company aims to reforest 1 million hectares over the next 12 years, and to ultimately fund the effort through the sale of carbon credits.
  • It's bought an initial 3,000 hectares — or about 11.5 square miles — of land in Bahia, where it plans to spread 1,600 seedlings of native plants per acre.

Zoom in: Lanx Capital and its private equity arm, Principia, led the Series A funding round in March.

Zoom out: Terraformation and DroneSeed, startups based in Hawaii and Seattle, respectively, are among the dozen or so companies that have attracted investor backing for reforestation.

Yes, but: The Amazon, due to deforestation, is now believed to emit more CO2 than it absorbs.

  • Meanwhile, a credit or offset can overstate the amount of carbon a tree captures, especially if it doesn't adjust for the limited amount of carbon that a younger tree can absorb.

What they're saying: Re.green says that it's taken those factors into account, and that the buyers who have purchased credits already have effectively paid in advance.

  • "Ecological restoration, which is the most demanding type of bringing back nature, that’s what we're doing," co-CEO Bernardo Strassburg tells Axios.

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