Purchase Conserves Habitat for Atlantic Rainforest Wildlife
| The REGUA reserve now protects over 20,000 acres
| 455 bird species are found in the reserve
|Woolly Spider Monkeys
© Paula B. Chaves
December 11, 2014
Rainforest Trust has collaborated with Brazilian partner REGUA to successfully purchase 593 acres, expanding the size of the Atlantic Rainforest reserve to over 20,000 acres.
The new properties will provide much needed protection for rare and endangered wildlife species that have lost much of their habitat due to logging and farmland expansion.
With 93 percent of the Atlantic Rainforest already destroyed, the once-massive forest is now one of the world’s most endangered ecosystems. As a consequence, many species have suffered devastating declines during the last 50 years. Remaining animals rely increasingly on protected areas like REGUA to serve as last refuges.
“Since its establishment in 2001, REGUA has demonstrated a phenomenal commitment to saving the Atlantic Rainforest and its endangered species,” said Christine Hodgdon, International Conservation Manager for Rainforest Trust. “This purchase provides additional protection for the reserve’s many rare species and is an important step forward in REGUA’s mission to protect the Atlantic Rainforest.”
New scientific studies continue to increase the number of species found in the REGUA reserve. At present, the reserve is known to contain 455 bird species, 103 orchid species, 42 reptile species, and 47 amphibian species. The reserve is also home to 80 mammal species, including Ocelots, Pumas and Woolly Spider Monkeys.
In addition to protecting intact portions of the Atlantic Forest, REGUA also restores land damaged by over-grazing and poor use. To do so, REGUA has established a successful reforestation program. The organization has now planted over 280,000 trees.
The reserve, which is located in the Guapiaçu Valley, only 40 miles from Rio de Janeiro, is facing increased threats from land developers. As the valley has become an attractive retreat for the city’s wealthy inhabitants, the construction of vacation homes has begun to pose serious challenges to the valley’s ecological integrity.
The seven properties acquired with Rainforest Trust’s support were identified last year as part of a detailed land study. The study, which mapped forest cover and property lines throughout the entire 186-square-mile Guapiaçu Valley, identified important objectives in REGUA’s future conservation plan.
At present, REGUA is negotiating the purchase of an additional 14 properties, containing nearly 1,000 acres, that will continue to expand the reserve.
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