Saving the Muriqui of the Atlantic Forest

Project Cost: $124,410

Funding Raised: $124,410

$552.93 per acre (1 acre = 43,560 sq ft)
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The Lagoinha Valley, covering 2,350 acres, is located near Cachoeiras de Macacu in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro. The upper slopes of this valley are mostly forested while the lower slopes have been occupied by tenant farmers for many years. The presence of subsistence farming is unsustainable on the slopes of the Serra do Mar mountain and threatens the creation of a continuous protected reserve around the Guapiaçu valley. In addition to farming and hunting activities, the gradual introduction of electricity cables and improved vehicle access at both ends of the valley opens the area to housing construction, which is the greatest threat to biodiversity.

Rainforest Trust seeks $124,410 to assist our local partner REGUA in acquiring the legal title of 225 acres of Atlantic Forest to limit further development and guarantee its perpetual protection as a forested corridor.

The 173-acre Vidal property in the Lagoinha valley contains high quality Atlantic rainforest adjacent to an existing REGUA property. Acquiring the legal title will guarantee its perpetual protection as a forested corridor. Though the Vidal property is within the Três Picos Park, the title enables our partner to receive eco-service payments on this land when they become available.

Rainforest Trust supported its partner with the acquisition of 102 acres of the Armênio property in March 2017, and now a further 52 acres has been offered to the partner. This area is 50 percent forested and 50 percent cattle pasture, which offers 26 acres to reforest. Rainforest Trust’s partner has been successful in obtaining grants within Brazil for reforestation and is confident it can obtain suitable funding to plant this area as well. Reforestation work generates valuable employment opportunities for the local community, thereby gaining local approval. This purchase is important as it borders our partner’s existing property, extending its protection around the Matumbo village, which is a development area for small houses. By surrounding the village, the partner can limit further development and maintain connectivity around its current ownership.


Photo: Wetlands and forest. Photo courtesy of REGUA.


Fast Facts

Lagoinha Valley, Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil

225 acres

Key Species:
Crowned Solitary Eagle (EN), Southern Muriqui (EN)

Mostly intact Atlantic rainforest with some pastureland

Subsistence farming, housing development, hunting

Land purchase and protection in perpetuity

Local Partner:

Financial Need:

Price per Acre:

Total Carbon Storage (Mt CO2):


REGUA is home to thirteen species classified by the IUCN as Threatened, including the Vulnerable Brown-backed Parrotlet, White-necked Hawk and Golden-tailed Parrotlet.

A further 26 species at REGUA are classified as Near Threatened. The Endangered Crowned Solitary Eagle has a very small, fragmented population within South America. Their populations are continuously declining, primarily due to large scale habitat destruction and hunting. The Armenio and Vidal properties are both buffers to contiguous primary forest at higher altitudes. The higher elevation forests contain several troops of the Endangered Southern Muriqui, South America’s largest and rarest primate. Additionally, REGUA is currently involved in the reintroduction of the Vulnerable Lowland Tapir. This reintroduction is following years of cultivating integrity with stakeholders, especially within the public sector.  

Photo: Endangered Southern Muriqui. Photo courtesy of Andre M. Lanna.


Although the Guapiaçu watershed is one of the best protected refuges of the Atlantic Forest, economic prosperity has prompted development growth at an unsustainable rate.

The watershed offers stunning verdant scenery with abundant streams of fresh water, which is attractive to developers who purchase small plots and cut down the forest to develop those areas with housing. Though it is illegal, this practice continues as enforcement is lax. Since 2001, the partner has been slowly acquiring properties to halt this development surge and secure the forests before demand and prices increase. This has been successful, and today the Guapiaçu watershed attracts more people who wish to visit and appreciate the natural beauty of the valley than develop it. The Vidal property is yet another opportunity to secure more forest and provide opportunities of ecosystem service payments, and its purchase guarantees the long term protection of biodiversity within the high altitudes of the Guapiaçu watershed. The Amenio property, although not as forested as Vidal, will allow the local partner to maintain protected land connectivity and prevent further development in the area surrounding the Matumbo village.  

Photo: Old, abandoned Lagoinha house with cattle. Photo courtesy of REGUA.


There are no locals living in the area to be purchased.

Rainforest Trust’s partner has already developed positive relationships with surrounding communities and owns significant land in this area, therefore no issues with neighbors are expected.  

Photo: School children visiting REGUA. Photo courtesy of Will Freeman.


Rainforest Trust seeks $124,410 to assist our local partner in acquiring the legal title of 225 acres of Atlantic Forest to limit further development and guarantee its perpetual protection as a forested corridor.

The partner’s long-term objective is to create RPPNs (a national program providing strict protection on private land) in all lands outside the Três Picos Park. This purchase is part of a long-term protection plan for the entire Guapiaçu valley, which currently protects over 27,500 acres. These land purchases will be integrated into the partner’s existing reserve network, where they have extensive land management experience. Operating costs come from tourists who stay at the partner’s lodge as well as their donors. To ensure long-term protection of these lands, the partner will install border demarcations, fences to prevent cattle entry and patrol the protected area with local community rangers.   Photo: School children working on restoration activities. Photo courtesy of Will Freeman.