Reserva Ecológica de Guapi Assu (REGUA)
NGO founded: 2001
Partnership with WLT formed: 2005
Organisation’s aim: To conserve the Atlantic Rainforest of the upper Guapi Assu river basin, near the city of Rio de Janeiro. Threatened habitat is being saved through purchasing privately owned pieces of land to extend the reserve, planting native tree species, and allowing the wildlife to return.
REGUA was officially formed in 2001 by Nicholas Locke. The reserve was originally a farm, which had been in the Locke family since 1915. When Nicholas became the owner he was keen to create a reserve as he witnessed the ongoing devastation of the forests around him. He has and is restoring forest and wetland that had been lost previously and buying more forest as funds become available, to add to the Reserva Ecológica de Guapi Assu (REGUA).
Partnership with WLT
REGUA was introduced to WLT by Alan Martin (WLT Council member) who had visited REGUA regularly and is secretary of the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest Trust (BART), which has been supporting REGUA since its formation. Kirsty Burgess, WLT’s programmes manager, made a site visit and was impressed by the organisation and the habitat being conserved.This resulted in a partnership and a year later, the first land purchase funded by WLT. REGUA now owns and protects over 18,000 acres. The Guapi Assu Bird Lodge offers excellent accommodation for those wanting a rainforest experience only 100km from Rio de Janeiro.
Other projects and activities
- Creation of a regular biodiversity monitoring programme and inventory, using simple and inexpensive field methods;
- Habitat restoration of previously drained farmland, turning it into lowland wetland habitat;
- Reintroducing species whose numbers have suffered through over exploitation, initially including the Red-billed Curassow and the Black-fronted Piping Guan;
- Running a Young Rangers programme to educate young people on the importance of appreciating and protecting the environment;
- Generating income for conservation work through ecotourism and running the Guapi Assu Bird Lodge for over-night visitors.
Awards and achievements
- In 2008 REGUA were elected head of scientific council of the Três Picos Governing Council.
President: Nicholas Locke