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Atlantic Forest Action

BirdLife strives to create Brazilian green corridors

BirdLife is working alongside local landowners and sugar producers in collaboration with other NGOs (SNE and TNC) in Brazil`s north-eastern Atlantic Forests region to reforest areas to link up surviving patches of native forest and create green corridors.

Without these conservation corridors, several of the world`s most threatened species will inevitably disappear says Jaqueline Goerck, Head of BirdLife`s Brazil Programme.

The owner of Boa Sorte fazenda, Antonio Nestor, is helping BirdLife with a project to replant native trees in deforested areas. But we have to find an economic alternative to sustain our agricultural business. says Nestor. Possibilities include ecotourism to the area, and support for reforestation projects by energy companies through carbon credit schemes, to offset carbon emissions.Sectors of the sugar industry in Brazil recognise they have a strong self-interest in protecting the remaining forest patches on their land.

Sugar production is very demanding on water. If we don`t have a good forest to preserve the water source, we are gone. says Jose Bakker, property manager of the Serra Grande sugar factory, near Murici. Ironically, it was the increase in sugar production for green energy in north-eastern Brazil that caused much deforestation in the region, as the forests were cut down to grow cane as a source of alcohol. The Atlantic Forests of Brazil are one of the most biologically rich yet threatened habitats on earth, harbouring several Critically Endangered birds, like the Alagoas Foliage-gleaner Philydor novaesiday, the forests cover less than 2% of their original extent.BirdLife has been actively involved at Murici, one of the most important surviving forest fragments, since 1999, and has worked alongside Brazil`s North-East Ecological Society (SNE), the Federal Environmental Institute (IBAMA) and others to support the declaration, in 2001, of the site as an Ecological Station, thereby affording it formal protection as a permanent reserve under Brazilian law. evertheless, the area remains under constant threat of encroachment, hence the current project to link it to other native forest patches. The reforestation programme has been supported by the Flemish Fund for Tropical Forests, Groenhart and Ministry of the Flemish Community, Administration of Environment, Nature, Land and Water Management, Division of Forests and Green Areas. Other BirdLife conservation work in Brazil is currently supported by the Marshall-Reynolds Foundation.

4th July 2014