The short answer is, both actions are essential, and we’re doing both. There has been a lot of global momentum around tree planting, but it’s incredibly important to protect old-growth forests as well. New trees take years to develop their carbon-absorbing powers; mature forests are already doing the job.
Not only this, but existing Amazon forests are home to 10% of the world’s known species (with more than 2.5 million insect species alone) and 40,000 different plants—many of which are the basis of essential pharmaceutical medicines. Preserving these ecosystems, and supporting local communities that protect them are also brilliant side effects of conserving existing trees.
Sadly, illegal timber poaching of the rainforest is leading to deforestation at a rate of three football fields per minute—we’ve already lost around 17% of the entire forest, and projects like these seek to slow and prevent this loss.