Restoration of the Guapiaçu watershed
Partner since 2020
The Atlantic rainforest of coastal Brazil is acknowledged as one of the most important regions for biodiversity on earth, stretching from the northeast along the Atlantic coast to the borders of Argentina and Paraguay. However, only 8% is still intact, and much of this is highly fragmented by agriculture, plantations of non-native forest, and urban development.
Yet deforestation continues, even in areas designated as state parks. Fires often damage fragments close to habited areas and forest on the flatter, lower slopes have had to make way for agriculture and urbanization. Consequences are soil degradation and extensive silt runoff, causing problems for the water supply for millions of people.
Over the past decades, REGUA has restored large parts of the watershed into a thriving and beautiful ecosystem. Purchasing, restoring, connecting and protecting pieces of land has been a key ingredient of REGUA’s succes. Among other envisaged purchases, REGUA is now working on the two important new acquisitions.
A 100 hectares parcel referred to as Lazzaroni, consists of excellent mature primary forest, strategically situated between land already owned by REGUA. The area is home to a troop of the critically endangered Southern Muriqui (woolly spider monkey) whose total global population is less than 1,500. Acquiring this forest would give them the protection of REGUA’s management and forest guards.
The second parcel, known as Ze Carniel, extends to 105 hectares. It lies within the priority acquisition zone of the catchment, at a lower elevation. Because of this lower altitude much of the surrounding land has traditionally been cleared for pasture or farmland.
Ze Carniel links to land already within REGUA’s ownership, and offers opportunities to reforest degraded pasture land. Also, by linking up some isolated forest fragments it will be easier to cross open pasture for species that have had difficulty doing so.
Last but not least, reforestation is essential to be able to claim ‘private reserve status’.
The long-term conservation of the Atlantic Forest and its biodiversity in the Guapiaçu watershed in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The Atlantic Forest was, originally, a 1.5 million square kilometers forest on the southeastern coast of Brazil. Human activity has destroyed 85% of this region over the past, mainly by deforestation. One of the organizations that aims to preserve and increase what is left of the local flora and fauna is REGUA, the Reserva Ecológica de Guapiaçu.
– Regua bird 3 © Gustava Pedro
– Regua tapir © Vitor Marigo