Thanks to World Land Trust (WLT) supporters another small but significant property has been purchased to extend Guapi Assu Reserve in the Atlantic forest of Brazil. Less than 7 per cent of the Atlantic forest survives so every parcel of land saved from development is a vital piece in the jigsaw.
Nicholas Locke is Project Coordinator for Reserva Ecológica de Guapi Assu (REGUA), WLT’s partner in Brazil. He said: “This land purchase is positive news for our supporters, our visitors, our staff and our partners. This is another success story for REGUA. Thank you World Land Trust for helping us to do the right thing: bringing back the forests.”
The property purchased is important because although much of it is degraded grassland it contains a small core area of standing forest with a vital water source.
Nicholas explains: “The most important motive for this acquisition is to convert degraded pasture land to forests and establish a forested corridor to link REGUA with another protected area which was secured with WLT support in 2008.”
Over the years, REGUA has been able to extend the reserve, in some cases, by acquiring land that was formerly pasture. As part of REGUA’s conservation strategy, land in pasture is planted with native trees by the REGUA team. The activity of tree planting generates employment in the local community, which in turn supports the local economy and instils in local residents a feeling of joint responsibility.
Reforestation has many other benefits too. Tree planting creates wildlife corridors of natural habitat that enable gene flow between fragmented and isolated wildlife populations. It also helps create areas of permanently protected habitat through which top predators – such as Puma – can move safely.
Another advantage of reforestation is that the risk of fire in grassland is very high in the dry months of winter and planting trees reduces this risk, enabling the establishment of a new healthy ecosystem which will, in turn, attract endemic forest fauna and flora.
WLT also supports REGUA with funding for the employment of rangers through the Keepers of the Wild programme. Ranger Antonio will be directly responsible for this newly purchased property. “The REGUA rangers are very proud to see their community land being protected and we intend to install two simple trails to provide means to regularly patrol the reserve and enable us to monitor the return of wildlife and ensure no hunting occurs,” said Nicholas.
WLT raised the funds to purchase the property in 2014 through WLT’s Atlantic Forest Appeal, Brazil, with a top up from the Big Cat Appeal. Once protected, the property will increase the area of protected habitat for the Pumas that are known to be present in the vicinity of the property.
You can contribute to conservation and habitat protection at Guapi Assu Reserve by making a donation to WLT’s Keepers of the Wild appeal to support the ongoing employment of Antonio and other rangers in the reserve.
You can also donate 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.