In June 2014 we launched an appeal for £25,000 to purchase and safeguard a vital parcel of land to connect existing protected areas in the heart of the Atlantic forest. The target property and the territory adjoining it shelter Pumas and we were delighted to be able to top up the deficit for the purchase thanks to donations to WLT's Big Cat Appeal during Big Match Fortnight 2014.
The property measures just 59 acres (24 hectares), but it is nonetheless a lifeline for Puma and other rare and threatened wildlife that need large areas of natural habitat through which to roam safely.
The widespread destruction of Atlantic forest is a biological disaster and preventing more loss of the rainforest is a priority for World Land Trust (WLT). Also called Mata Atlântica, it is one of the most important ecoregions in the world and a biodiversity hotspot. However, due to the impact of logging and the expansion of agriculture only 7 per cent of the original forest remains. That which remains is becoming increasingly fragmented.
The success of this appeal will help preserve one of the remaining fragments of Atlantic forest at Guapi Assu.
Having met the 2014 Atlantic Forest Appeal target, WLT will continue to fundraise to support the employment of wildlife rangers at REGUA through WLT's Keepers of the Wild programme.
You can also donate to Keepers of the Wild by texting from your mobile phone. For example, if you’d like to donate £5, text KOTW14 £5 to 70070. The maximum donation by text at any one time is £10.
WLT aimed to raise funds to enable Reserva Ecológica de Guapi Assu (REGUA), WLT’s partner in Brazil, to purchase a property in the Matumbo Gap, an unprotected area close to the middle of Três Picos National Park in the Serra dos Órgãos mountains, about 80 km north-east of Rio de Janeiro.
The property in question measures 59 acres (24 hectares). Safeguarding this piece of land is essential because it is another step towards creating a wildlife corridor of land owned and managed by REGUA.
In the case of this property, some of the area has already been cleared for pasture, and REGUA’s reserve management plan will involve tree planting. The success of REGUA’s other forest restoration work indicates that wildlife will return to a reforested area within a few years.
How WLT is helping
Since 2005 WLT has been supporting REGUA to purchase properties in the Matumbo Gap, an unprotected area close to the middle of Três Picos National Park in the Serra dos Órgãos mountains, about 80 km north-east of Rio de Janeiro.
By funding strategic land purchases in the Atlantic forest, WLT supporters are helping to join up different sections of the national park and also to create a corridor between land owned and managed by REGUA and the nearby International Primatology Centre.
WLT also funds a ranger at REGUA with Keepers of the Wild funding.
In October 2014 WLT successfully raised £25,000 to purchase this property.
Building development is the main threat to this property, which is located near the village of Matumbo. Rio de Janeiro state is seeing a building boom and land prices are rocketing.
Brazil’s recent surge in development is due to investment in roads and infrastructure necessary to stage the 2014 World Cup and the Rio Olympics in 2016, and partly because of a growing demand for holiday homes.
The Guapi Assu reserve ranges from around 30 metres above sea level at the wetland areas up to 2,000 metres. This provides a range of unique habitats and it is one of the last locations where original Atlantic Forest remains intact at all altitudes.
Funds from WLT's Save the Atlantic Forest appeal will be used to purchase a property that lies in the Matumbo Gap. The property will form another piece in the patchwork of protected areas in Guapi Assu.