Posted on 29 March 2018
Jardim Botânico Araribá (JBA) is located in Brazilian Atlantic Forest, in a farm that has 30 hectares, in which 20 hectares were already restored with the native species. The JBA team is working hard to restore Brazillian Atlantic Forest, since 1987, and the current restoration projects intend to restore not only specific plant species, but also the ecosystem as a whole. Bringing back the native fauna and flora biodiversity, as well as restoring water and soil resources. The JBA is a member of the Ecological Restoration Alliance of Botanic Gardens since 2017, and aims to expand Atlantic Forest restoration in the region.
Tropical forest ecosystems are under constant pressure from extensive degradation worldwide. In particular, the Atlantic Forest of southeast Brazil has a long history of heavy anthropogenic disturbance since the sixteenth century, and, despite its status as a globally important biodiversity hotspot, it is recognised as one of the most degraded ecosystems on the planet. Only very small and isolated fragments now remain of the original cover (less than 2%) and, as such, in addition to surrounding anthropogenic activity, these fragments are generally under continuous disturbance.
The landscape in the southeast of Brazil is very degraded with grasslands as the main land use practice in the region. One of the few fragments of Atlantic Forest in the region is in the farm where JBA is located, which after 30 years of restoration practice contributes in providing water (the best quality water) to the closest town because four headwaters have appeared since the forest recovery process started.
JBA performs agroforestry, restoration with native plants species and environmental education practices. The JBA group have been developing floristic surveys to compose scientific database for future restoration programs and the herbarium species list. The group is working hard to see Atlantic Forest grow again, and to educate a new generation about a more sustainable way of allocating our natural resources.
JBA objective is preserving and multiplying its collections of Atlantic Forest medicinal, fibrous and dye plants for application in textile, native seeds preservation and native plants for food. And the main goal for restoration project, as an ERA member, is to expand the long-term restoration of the natural Atlantic Forest ecosystem in surrounding areas in order to bring back the native biome biodiversity.
Restored areas surrounding rivers and waterfalls now protect the water resource.
After 30 years of restoration practices in the farm, it was possible to bring back four headwaters that nowadays feeds the closest city from the farm (Amparo – São Paulo, Brazil). The restored forest protect the river banks avoiding the silting process, and protecting the river water quantity and quality.
Euterpe edulis is threatened with extinction
With the restoration areas it was possible to find the presence and high abundance of Euterpe edulis, a palm tree species that is at risk of extinction. JBA have been collecting its seeds for protection and also for using in the restoration projects.
Araucaria angustifolia is the native pine species that is Critically Endangered and it is present in the restored areas. This species is in risk extinction because the seeds are used for human alimentation and are in great demand. Our aim is to increase this species infarm areas, including in future restoration projects and also in the environmental education to teach the next generation about its importance.
Lycalopex (NT) has now been found in the restored forest
Lycalopex sechurae is the wild canine in risk of extinction that has returned upon restoration of degraded forest. Because it is a top predator, we can conclude that the ecosystem as a whole is being successfully restored during all these years of restoration pratice. Other mammals species population are also accompanied periodically.