On the Atlantic Forest trail: restoring landscapes and strengthening local production chains in the Central Fluminense Mosaic
Due to its history of degradation, great biological diversity, and a high degree of endemism, the Atlantic Forest is considered a global priority for ecosystem restoration. In the state of Rio de Janeiro, the region of the Central Fluminense Mosaic (MCF) is of enormous relevance to the conservation of the biome, as it is home to protected areas and a large portion of the population of Rio de Janeiro, thus restoration actions in the region have high potential to generate environmental and socioeconomic benefits.
The project “On the Atlantic Forest Trail: restoring landscapes and strengthening local production chains in the Central Fluminense Mosaic” aims to promote the recovery of native vegetation and strengthen the forest production chain and sustainable tourism, connecting Private Natural Heritage Reserves (RPPNs) and local stakeholders to expand, enrich and conserve the biodiversity of forest remnants in the MCF region.
Focusing on the extreme northern corridor of the Serra do Mar, the project will implement restoration actions in priority areas to increase functional connectivity between the MCF and the Desengano State Park, along the Atlantic Forest Trail (Caminho da Mata Atlântica – CMA). The CMA is a 4,270 km trail that runs along the entire Serra do Mar and part of Serra Geral, between Rio de Janeiro and Rio Grande do Sul, with the goal of promoting contact with nature, generating income for local communities, connecting people, forests and protected areas.
Using spatial planning, appropriate restoration techniques (taking advantage of the potential of natural regeneration and increasing the cost-effectiveness of actions), promoting the training of rural landowners on different forms of income generation from restoration and conservation, stimulating sustainable tourism, citizen science, and fauna records, the project aims to:
- Restore 250 hectares of Atlantic Forest to increase the functional connectivity between forest remnants in the extreme northern corridor of the Serra do Mar;
- Mobilize and train local stakeholders in activities associated with the restoration of native vegetation, promoting and strengthening the production chains of forest seeds and seedlings, ecotourism, and rural tourism;
- Monitoring areas with restoration actions and their surroundings by means of fauna records and Citizen Science tools, contemplating the ecosystemic and social benefits of restoration, and subsidizing Research and Development (R&D).
Over two years, the project partners – the Atlantic Forest Trail (CMA), the Laboratory of Vertebrates of the Biology Institute of UFRJ (LabVert), Fiocruz, Agroicone, Embrapa Agrobiology, and the Guapiaçu Ecological Reserve (REGUA) – will contribute with the IIS to achieve the proposed objectives.
The Atlantic Forest Trail (CMA), a voluntary initiative of many partners, will contribute to the monitoring of fauna, mapping of the tourism production chain, development of tourist itineraries, and contacts with local protected areas.
The Vertebrate Laboratory of the Biology Institute of UFRJ (LabVert) will be responsible for coordinating the Specific Objective related to monitoring areas with restoration actions.
Fiocruz will be the project’s partner in the participatory monitoring of biodiversity, using the Information System on Wildlife Health – SISS-Geo. This platform stores and makes available all the information on wild animal occurrence records provided by partners and volunteers. In addition to allowing the monitoring of possible health risks, the platform allows an assessment of the state of conservation of the fauna along the Atlantic Forest Trail.
Agroicone will be a partner in the capacity building and mobilization activities and will contribute to the production of materials and the organization of the capacity building activities, besides sharing the experiences and materials produced by Agroicone and partner institutions in the framework of the SiAMA project (Agroforestry Systems in the Atlantic Forest).
Embrapa Agrobiology, through two researchers from its technical staff, will contribute to the capacity building of the target audience in topics related to the production of seeds and seedlings of forest species, legislation, and recovery of degraded areas. It will also help in planning the implementation and maintenance of projects for the recovery of degraded areas and in advising nurserymen on the production of quality seedlings.
The Guapiaçu Ecological Reserve (REGUA) will contribute to the project’s objectives related to reforestation and monitoring activities, besides making space available for the periodic meetings.
With a budget of 2.8 million reais, this initiative is being developed with support from the Biodiversity and Climate Change in the Atlantic Forest project, a Brazilian government project, coordinated by the Ministry of the Environment (MMA), in the context of the Brazil-Germany Cooperation for Sustainable Development, under the International Climate Protection Initiative (IKI) of the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), with financial support through the KfW Entwicklungsbank (German Development Bank), through the Brazilian Biodivesity Fund – FUNBIO.