Reforestation in Brazil's Atlantic Forest Could Help Biodiversity Recover


A lush valley in the Atlantic Forest. Photo by de Paula FJ vie Flickr.

Guest blogger Cara Smusiak is a journalist and regular contributor to NaturallySavvy.com's Naturally Green section.

A reforestation project in Brazil's critically endangered Atlantic Forest been handed a boon in the form of CCB certification, only the second project to earn this prestigious designation, which is administered by the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance.

The project entails reforesting a stretch of forest between Monte Pascoal and Pau Brasil National Parks, reviving 1,000 hectares between the two protected areas, a Nature Conservancy press release reveals.CCB is a big name in third-party validation of carbon sequestration projects, and projects that do gain certification must meet three critical requirements: mitigate climate change, protect biodiversity, and encourage sustainable development.

Reforestation is a noble enough cause (only 12 percent of the Atlantic Forest remains today), but the program will also help remove 360,000 tons of carbon over 30 years, says Gilberto Tiepolo, Forest Carbon Coordinator for The Nature Conservancy in the Atlantic Forest and Central Savannas.


Source: biodiversityhotspots.org

The move will also help support the critical loss of biodiversity in the area, which is considered one of Brazil's biodiversity hotspots. The Atlantic Forest has long been isolated from other rainforest areas in South America, so the particular plant species and biodiversity of the area is unique. According to Conservation International, the Atlantic forest is home to 20,000 plant species, of which 40 percent are only found in the area. Threatened vertebrates include:

  • 55 bird species
  • 21 mammal species
  • 14 amphibian species

According to a Nature Conservancy press release, the reforested corridor will reconnect the two current protected areas of the forest, providing species such as the puma, brown howler monkey, and white-winged cotingas a protect route to travel between the current protected areas.

The project will also create jobs for local Brazilians, including seed collection, seedling production, planting, maintenance, and monitoring of carbon capture and biodiversity.

The first phase of the project, which will restore 17 hectares, began in 2008.

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Tags: Animals | Biodiversity | Birds | Brazil | Carbon Sequestration | Deforestation | Ecology | Endangered Species | Global Climate Change | Preservation