Large-scale ecological restoration of Mata Atlantica
IIS research focused in the Atlantic Rainforest has the goal of supporting the implementation of large-scale restoration initiatives aimed at restoring native rainforest. IIS’s vision for Mata Atlantica restoration is to spare land for nature through sustainable increase of agricultural productivity of lands already taken by agriculture, to identify restoration models that could be self-financed, to explore opportunities related to ecosystem services markets, and to maximize social gains. The Atlantic Rainforest of Brazil is a carbon rich biome (121 tonnes of carbon per hectare on average) whose high diversity of species and massive deforestation (only around 8% of the original biome is left) has earned it the title of “the hottest of hotspots”. It also hosts 62% of the Brazilian population and 80% of its GDP, making it the most vital biome in terms of local and regional ecosystem services. IIS aims to integrate increased agricultural production with the conservation and restoration of natural forest ecosystems, leading to an enhancement of carbon stocks, decreased emissions from the livestock sector and decreased deforestation pressure in the Cerrado and Amazon biomes. The biodiversity co-benefits are estimated to make it the largest conservation project in history worldwide in term of avoided extinctions, whereas substantial social impacts would arise from the creation of tens of thousands of jobs that would primarily target the lowest income class in Brazil.
IIS is also coordinating economic group of the Atlantic Rainforest Pact, a major initiative that includes a variety of stakeholders with a common goal to restore Atlantic Rainforest in a economically viable way.