Site location and ownership
Reserva Ecológica de Guapi Assu, owned and managed by WLT partner REGUA, is a 6,300 hectare reserve situated 80km from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
The Guapi Assu pastoral farm was owned for many generations by the Locke family and REGUA was set up in 2001 by Nicholas Locke, the latest member of the Locke family to inherit the Guapi Assu lands. REGUA is a not-for-profit conservation organisation comprised of local landowners and community members who all support Nicholas’ core mission – to protect the Atlantic Forest of the upper Guapi Assu River Basin.
The reserve comprises a mix of standing Atlantic Forest and cleared agricultural and grazing land in the valley bottom and protects an area of Atlantic Forest, or Mata Atlântica as it is known in Portuguese.
The 7,000 hectare Guapi Assu Reserve protects a unique range of habitats including highland rainforest and lowland wetlands. It is home to an impressive array of wildlife including at least 420 different types of birds and 55 mammal species, the most charismatic of which include the Spectacled Bear, Ocelot and Sloth.
Guapi Assu was originally a pastoral farm and so much of the forest cover was cleared for cattle fodder. To encourage wildlife back into the area, WLT’s project partner, Reserva Ecológica de Guapi Assu (REGUA), is working to expand protected lands around Guapi Assu and is implementing an ambitious restoration strategy, regenerating a central wetland area and reforesting core pasture lands located around the water’s edge.
WLT reforestation programme
The programme in this area is restoring the valley bottom to a mixture of wetland and forest. The approach to reforestation involves high levels of aftercare including fertilization, staking, and irrigation to ensure fast growth and low mortality of seedlings.
This is important not just for the diverse and abundant wildlife found in the area, but also for the regulation of the water source supplying many surrounding settlements.
REGUA has become a local leader on habitat restoration and is now winning contracts with Brazilian organisations for the provision of saplings and further reforestation on its own reserve for CSR purposes.