These projects seek to restore and protect almost 50,000 acres of tropical forest within the Guaraqueçaba Environmental Protection Area in southeastern Brazil.
Over 40 years, these projects are expected to sequester and avoid the emission of significant amounts of carbon dioxide.
These projects are collaborative efforts between The Nature Conservancy, American Electric Power, General Motors, Texaco and Sociedade de Pesquisa em Vida Selvagem e Educação Ambiental (SPVS), the Conservancy's partner organization in Brazil.
The UN Economic and Social Organization (UNESCO) has recognized Brazil's Atlantic Forest as one of the highest priorities for conservation and has designated it a World Biosphere Reserve. More than half the forest's tree species and nearly three-quarters of its other plants are found nowhere else on Earth. The vast majority of Brazil's endangered species rely on the Atlantic Forest for their existence. Today, the Guaraqueçaba Environmental Protection Area is the largest contiguous remnant of Atlantic Forest and home to at least 15 species of globally endangered birds.
After centuries of human use, the Atlantic Forest has been reduced to only seven percent of its original range, and the remaining areas, including the project area, are under imminent threat of deforestation. An analysis of the Guaraqueçaba Environmental Protection Area identified Asian water buffalo ranching as the reserve's number-one threat. The project includes removing Asian water buffalo from areas that have been converted to pasture, restoring forests there and preventing further deforestation.
By protecting a significant area within the Guaraqueçaba Environmental Protection Area, this project will make an invaluable contribution to the preservation of the planet's biodiversity.
Preliminary estimates indicate that the total carbon benefit for the projects will be significant, generated through a series of activities:
Sustainable development is a primary goal of the project. With nearly a decade of experience and a respected track record working with local communities in the area, SPVS is taking the lead in efforts to help local residents balance their economic activities with improved forest management. Sustainable development activities may include ecotourism, organic agriculture, ornamental and medicinal plant production and craft production for the burgeoning tourism trade.
Other direct economic opportunities for local community members include jobs as park wardens and in reforestation efforts, carbon monitoring and infrastructure development.
The Guaraqueçaba Climate Action Project is one of several being undertaken by The Nature Conservancy and its partners to help protect and restore threatened forests and create a demonstrable reduction in the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.