The Atlantic Forest, is among the world’s top five biodiversity hotspots. Trees are planted with the purpose of reconnecting remaining forest patches and grow new forest corridors and thus making more space for wildlife to thrive and reproduce. Animals such as the black lion tamarin, ocelots, anteaters, and even pumas have now returned to the area. Restoring the Atlantic Forest is also of high importance for the climate, as second-growth forest has a big potential for carbon storage. In the Brazilian Forest Law, every landowner is obliged to register a minimum of 20% of rural land as permanent forest, meaning that the trees planted there will be protected. The tree seedlings are grown in community-based nurseries run by local women, whereas members of the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement plant the trees. This way they are not only helping to restore the Atlantic Forest, but also learning valuable skills and earning a living.
IPE received the 2017 Award of Excellence from the Society for Ecological Restoration.
Laboratório de Silvicultura de Florestas Tropicais (LASTROP), Universidade de São Paulo; Instituto de Energia e Ambiente Universidade de Sao Paulo; Federal University of São Carlos; Instituto de pesquisas e estudos florestais.
The Bonn Challenge is a global effort to bring 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030.
Restore native forest
Reconnect the Morro do Diabo State Park to the Iguaçu National Park
Promote economic development
Build livelihood resilience
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Why is intervention needed?
According to UNESCO, Brazil’s Atlantic Forest (Mata Atlantica) is one of the world’s five most important biodiversity hotspots. Once stretching 130 million hectares across Brazil's southeastern coast, the Atlantic Forest has been reduced to small isolated fragments, with some patches no larger than 50 hectares. In Pontal de Paranapanema, where the project is based, the extent of deforestation has left a mere 3% of the forest standing. Despite this extreme level of deforestation, the Atlantic Forest still harbors a wealth of biodiversity and has a large potential for carbon sequestration.
Forest corridors are created between the Morro do Diabo State Park and the Iguaçu National Park, where some of the few remnants of the Atlantic Forest are found. Small isolated populations are at risk from inbreeding and losing genetic diversity and forest corridors enable previously isolated individuals to move to new areas of forest and breed with other populations. For the critically endangered species, the black lion tamarin (Leontopithecus chrisopygus), this is essential if it is to survive. To identify where the corridors will benefit key species the most and inform decisions on where to plant, the movements of native feline species were tracked using GPS collars. The planting approach follows the succession-based model, which means that species are planted to promote the natural process of ecological succession. The project partners with community-based nurseries to provide the seedlings and contracts members of the Landless Workers Movement to carry out the planting activities. Ecological surveys are carried out to assess tree species composition, tree growth and other indicators of the health of the forest corridors and camera traps are installed to monitor their functionality. The project also carries a research component to help develop a certification standard for forest landscape restoration. For this, data on the project’s ecological and socio-economic impacts are collected.
The project partners with community-based nurseries, established and run by local people, to collect the seeds and provide the seedlings for planting. Local people, many of them women, can become financially independent. To carry out the planting activities, members of Brazil's Landless Workers Movement are contracted. This vulnerable group of people have the opportunity to learn valuable skills and earn a living while helping to restore the Atlantic Forest.
* Carbon calculation methodology
This carbon figure is based on research conducted in the region of Pontal do Paranapanema. The total above-ground and below-ground biomass is estimated to average a sequestration of 317.24 tons of CO2 per hectare over a period of 30 years.
Ditt, E.H., Rocha, M. T., Padua, C.V. Estudos de viabilidade de projetos de carbono para mitigação climática, redução de pobreza e conservação da biodiversidade no Pontal do Paranapanema, São Paulo. In: Carlos Klink. (Ed.). Quanto mais quente melhor? 1ed. Brasília: Peirópolis, 2007, v. 1, p. 139-154.