RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2010: The Atlantic Rainforest
The Atlantic Rainforest, or Mata Atlântica, is a unique ecosystem supporting an abundance of life. It stretches from north-east Brazil south along the Brazilian Atlantic coastline just into coastal Uruguay, and inland into north-east Argentina and eastern Paraguay.
It once covered over 1 million km2, but centuries of deforestation has seen it become the second most threatened biome in the world after Madagascar. Today, only 6-7% of the original forest area remains, an area of around 100,000km2, and only an estimated 2% is still primary forest. Deforestation has occurred mainly as the result of the spread of intensive agriculture, cattle ranching and urban development. The massive destruction of this global hotspot for biodiversity has been described as “one of the biological tragedies of this century”.
Despite the colossal loss of its area and habitat fragmentation, the Atlantic Rainforest ecoregion is still ranked in the top five of the world’s biodiversity hotspots and is one of the highest priorities for conservation action globally. It is a treasure trove of biodiversity and home to over 20,000 plant species, of which 40% are endemic.
Read more about the plants of the Atlantic Rainforest »
Rainforests are important in providing essential ecological services. Forests cleanse the air and help to control rainfall. They are vital to the health of the planet. They also provide a number of daily resources, from products to medicines.
The World Land Trust is working to protect the Atlantic Forest in three critical areas: Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.
Just 1% of the former cover of the Atlantic Rainforest survives in Argentina. The World Land Trust is working to protect one of the last strongholds of the Rainforest, in the Misiones province. It is creating a corridor, the Moconá Corridor Reserve, between the Yaboti Biosphere Reserve and other protected areas of forest in neighbouring Brazil to create more than 100,000 acres of contiguous protected forest.
The World Land Trust is working in conjunction with local project partner Fundación Frontera Verde.
The Misiones project area is home to some of the last Guaraní communities in Argentina. The health and protection of the environment is essential to the continuance of their traditional way of life.
Read more about the Guaraní on Survival International's website »
The 15,500 acre Guapi Assu Reserve is a critical haven for threatened species of plants and animals. This region has more than 8,000 endemic plant species and over 50% of tree species unique to the Atlantic rainforest.
The reserve also contains restored lowland wetland, with rare species of trees, orchids and bromeliads. Watch a video of Bill Oddie talking about the restoration work at REGUA »
The World Land Trust is working in southern Paraguay at San Rafael. This is one of the largest relicts of Atlantic Rainforest in Paraguay. The World Land Trust is working in conjunction with local project partner Guyra Paraguay.
The Trust is re-establishing Atlantic Rainforest species through enrichment planting on areas artificially cleared as paddocks. This is being supported by the World Land Trust Carbon Balanced Programme. Planted species include several precious soft and hardwood tree species, for example Yerba Mate.
- WLT Events: RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2010
- WLT's exhibit at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2010
- The Eden Project
Help protect the Atlantic Rainforest
WLT is actively involved in Atlantic Rainforest conservation in Argentina (Misiones Province), Brazil (Guapi Assu Reserve) and Paraguay (San Rafael). To help save Atlantic Forest habitat, please support these projects.