Sloth ©Lee Dingain
The Atlantic Forest is a centre for biodiversity and one of the most important eco-regions in the world, but it is under threat. Due to logging and agriculture, only a tiny 7% of the original forest is left, which has meant a huge loss of habitat for unique wildlife that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Preventing more loss of Atlantic Forest is a priority for World Land Trust (WLT).
WLT is running a special appeal to try and preserve one of the remaining sections of Atlantic Forest at Guapi Assu in Brazil. Can you help?
How much is needed?
WLT urgently needs £25,000 to purchase a property, which is a priority for conservation in the Atlantic Forest.
Why is it so important?
One of the reasons this particular property is so important is its location adjoining already protected land in the upper Guapi Assu river basin, some 80km north east of the city of Rio de Janeiro. The purchase of this property will enable wildlife to range freely across a wider area of forest.
The Atlantic Forest has been identified as a biodiversity hotspot. This means it is a region with a vast amount of biodiversity, but it is under serious threat from humans. It is also a centre of endemism; this means it contains plants and animals that are only found in this specific part of the world, making it vital that they are protected.
How is WLT helping?
WLT helped to establish the Guapi Assu Reserve (REGUA), and since 2005 has been supporting REGUA to purchase properties to link parts of the existing reserve.
By funding strategic land purchases in the Atlantic Forest, REGUA’s long term aim is to link the land they currently own and manage to land protected by the International Primatology Centre.
Parts of the target property have already been deforested, so the reserve management plan will involve tree planting. It is expected that a full range of wildlife will return to the reforested area within a few years.
David Wright, WLT’s Head of Programmes, says: “It is essential that we raise funds to safeguard this property. Land in Brazil is at a premium and this property may not be on the market for very long. Because of its strategic position we have an opportunity to protect a really vital wildlife corridor.”
What wildlife is found in the Atlantic Rainforest?
There are 55 species of mammal and over 450 species of bird found in the Atlantic Rainforest. Some of the more well-known animals include Pumas, Ocelots, Sloths, and the Woolly Spider Monkey (listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List ). Birds that are found in the forest include the Sawbilled Hermit, Elegant Mourner, Swallow-tailed Cotinga, Channel-billed Toucan, Eye-ringed Tody-Tyrant and Red-billed Curassow (which was successfully reintroduced to the area).
What are the main threats to the Atlantic Rainforest?
The main threats to this region are from building development and agriculture. Brazil has recently seen a construction boom and there is a growing market for holiday homes. In other areas, forest is being cleared for coffee plantations, cattle ranching and logging.
What can you do to help?
It is easy. Just donate to the WLT Atlantic Forest in Brazil appeal on Charity Choice. Every donation of whatever size will be helping to protect this incredible part of the world.
Eastern Striped Manikin © Nick Athanas