Peru's Amazon has suffered from widespread deforestation since the 1960s due to unsustainable logging, clearing for cattle ranching, and fires. In the Ucayali region, the land has become so degraded that it was largely abandoned in the 1990s. In 2008, Peruvian company Bosques Amazonicos SAC (BAM) bought Campo Verde, an 18,000 hectare parcel of land overrun by exotic grasses, a far cry from the lush tropical forest that thrived only a few decades earlier.

Across the United States, signs outside restaurants advertise “mesquite barbecue.” Charcoal made from the mesquite tree has become increasingly popular in recent years thanks to the smoky flavor it brings to even the most boring meat. It’s not just popular for barbecue; mesquite wood is used in furniture, medicinal teas and fodder.

The extremely dry and salty soil in the basin of Mexico's drained Lake Texcoco is a menace to the surrounding communities and nearby Mexico City. Decades of mismanagement after the lake entirely disappeared have severely degraded the land, leaving it largely an unproductive dust bowl.

Several hundred million orange and black monarch butterflies travel between Canada, the United States, and Mexico each year. After completing their mammoth journey, the monarchs arrive in the hills of Michoacán, Mexico, where they settle down for a few months to rest and breed in the 56,000 hectares of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

After decades of unsustainable timber harvesting, the tropical semi-humid and dry forests along Costa Rica's Pacific coast were exhausted by the 1970s. With no trees left, timber companies fled the country's Guanacaste region, taking jobs and economic opportunity with them.

Located in Ecuador's cocoa cluster, the three farms that make up Initiative 20x20 partner 12Tree's Rio Lindo project are mixing sustainability with high yields, social impact, and economic success. Across 638 hectares of land, including 407 ha of cocoa and 119 ha of teak, the fertile soils and the favorable microclimate of this region are key to the high cocoa yields that Rio Lindo is known for.

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The Caribbean region of Colombia suffered from decades of conflict during the country's long civil war. Today, much of that land is severely degraded, partially due to extensive open-pit coal mining. Initiative 20x20 partner 12Tree is now rehabilitating 400 hectares of cocoa plantations in La Jagua de Ibirico. Hacienda Maquencal is a large farm in the Cesar department, spanning 947 hectares, 200 of which are protected natural and old-growth secondary forest.

Born from Ecuador's Cotopaxi volcano, the fertile and moist soils in the country's Guayas basin are ideal for growing high-quality cocoa like the local Arriba variety, a rare, fine cultivar that more productive varieties are displacing. On two 17-year-old plantations, Haciendas Limón and Guantupí, Initiative 20x20 partner 12Tree is revitalizing 260 hectares of this unique high-value crop.

Across nearly 400 hectares of Panama's Chiriquí Province, Initiative 20x20 partner 12Tree is transforming the teak and acacia plantations at Boca del Monte farm into a sustainably managed enterprise. By thinning out the plantations and taking advantage of the FSC and Gold Standard-certified trees, 12Tree is creating jobs in a region that has long struggled with unemployment.

Brazil's Atlantic Forest has suffered from severe degradation for years, and the timber industry has been a major culprit. One innovative timber company, Initiative 20x20 technical partner Symbiosis Investimentos, however, is restoring this fragile ecosystem while meeting rising global timber demand.

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