Tree restoration project in semi deciduous Atlantic forest in Brazil

Conservation Problem

Despite being a globally important hotspot for threatened trees, the Atlantic forest of southeast Brazil is heavily degraded, with less than 2% of the original cover remaining. Small forest fragments are under continuous disturbance from agricultural activities and uncontrolled sprawl of urban areas without an effective government planning policy.

Project goal

Restoring degraded farmland that has been intensively used for cattle pasture, coffee and sugar plantations as part of an integrated conservation plan for four threatened tree species.

Why these species?

The Araribá Botanic Garden is based within the semi-deciduous Atlantic forest, nearby to degraded farmlands, and so is well placed to initiate actions for the following threatened tree species:

  • Chloroleucon tortum (CR) faces dual threats of deforestation and logging. This species is very important for restoring degraded areas because it grows under direct sunlight and tolerates low nutrient soils.

Chloroleucon tortum (Credit: Prof. Guaraci Diniz)

Chloroleucon tortum fruits (Credit: Prof. Guaraci Diniz)

  • Cedrela fissilis (VU) has suffered a population decrease of 30% due to logging for its timber.
  • Paubrasilia echinata (EN) is a symbolic tree species of Brazil, well known as “Pau Brasil”. However it is now Endangered due to deforestation and centuries of unsustainable explotation to extract dyes.

Paubrasilia echinata (Credit: Prof. Guaraci Diniz)

  • Zeyheria tuberculosa (VU) is a good species for use in restoration projects, due to its fast growth and natural occurrence during secondary succession of abandoned pastureland.

What are we doing?

GTC will partner with the Araribá Botanic Garden, who will employ 30 years of restoration experience to restore ecosystem functioning by increasing the abundance of threatened species in in the semi-deciduous Atlantic forest. Specific project activities include:

  • Carry out field surveys across fragmented forest to locate and collect seeds and vegetative (growth) materials of the target species;
  • Deliver capacity building course on seed conservation;
  • Initiate propagation of the target species and develop  propagation protocols;
  • Restore degraded land with target threatened tree species and other native plants, manage and monitor the planted saplings;
  • Disseminate public outreach material.

The Global Trees Campaign is also supporting other projects in Southern Brazil’s Araucaria forest. For more information, please see  Making tree planting work for threatened trees in Brazil

Did you know?

Just 769 Yuanbaoshan fir trees remain in the wild, all found in one National Park in the Yuanbao Mountains of north Guangxi, China