1998 - 2016

It is possible to recover the Atlantic Forest

Instituto Terra

The dream of making the completely degraded Atlantic Forest in an old farm was the starting point for Instituto Terra, founded by Lélia Deluiz Wanick Salgado and Sebastião Salgado, in Aimorés, Minas Gerais state, Brazil. Browse through this exhibition and get to know better this initiative that has helped transform an arid landscape without water in a green scenery full of beauty. An ecologic scape that every year gets new samples of flora and fauna from this important and threaten biome.

It was in the end of the 90's when taking over the land that belonged to the family, in the little city of the state of Minas, Aimores, that Lélia Deluiz Wanick Salgado and Sebastião Salgado decided to there, plant a forest. To move on with the project, they've founded Terra, an environmental NGO working on environmental recovery of the region known as Rio Doce Water Basin.

Planting a forest on such an abused soil from droughts and erosion demanded amazing effort, partnerships and lots of technology.

The first step in transforming was turning the old cattle farmland into a Private Reserve of Natural Heritage - RPPN Bulcão Farm.

This title being given in an unprecedentedly way in October 1998, as being the first recognized conservation unit from a degraded area with the commitment to be reforested.

RPPN Bulcão Farm, headquarters to Instituto Terra, in the year of 2013, nearly fully covered by Atlantic Forest vegetation.

Up to January 2016, 2.5 million seedlings from 297 native species from Atlantic Forest have been planted. Planting always takes place during the rainy period which goes from the month of November to January.

Community interaction has been made present since the beginning. The first planting in Bulcão Farm RPPN took place in November 1999 with an enthusiastic participation mainly from the city school student from the City of Aimores, state of Minas Gerais. It was a party in nature and even the rain came to participate.

The initiative was the embryo of a greater purpose from Instituto Terra: associate a reforesting project to educational actions in order to promote the environmental revival and the sustainable development of all the Doce River Valley region.

In less than a decade, a forest's been planted
A forest's reconstruction goes much beyond planting native seedlings in a systematic way. Forests are not only trees. The whole interaction among trees, fauna and other diverse types of vegetation are essential and seen as a great chain of relations, that once destroyed, require intervention to be reestablished. Under this logic, with research and support from partners, the reforesting actions from Terra Institute at Bulcao Farm RPPN already would guarantee the plantation of over 2.5 million seedlings from 297 native Atlantic Forest species. In the initial stage the strategy was to prioritize fast growing species that covered well the soil, taking in organic material and nutrients, protecting it from the direct impact caused by rain and improving its physical and chemical characteristics. As the forest quickly grew, in 2015 started the planted area enrichment stage aiming at expanding the biodiversity, one of the greatest challenges in forest restoration.

Having the green back, it did not take long to for the animals to make their way back as well. Nowadays the RPPN Bulcão Farm is a safe haven even for endangered species from the Brazilian Fauna.

Monitoring records from the fauna evidence that it is possible to witness living there since small invertebrates to even a family of jaguatiricas (Leopardus pardalis). Clearly displaying that the food chain has been re-established.

The jaguatitica is one of the 33 mammal species seen in the area as well as 173 species of birds, 16 reptiles and 15 amphibians.

Threatened birds from the Atlantic Forest, the Red-crowned parrot (Amazona rhodocorytha) and the Vinaceous Parrot (Amazona vinácea) are today noble residents in this new forest planted by Instituto Terra.

Know the corner of the Red-crowned parrot
Instituto Terra headquarters is located right at the border between the State of Espirito Santo and Minas Gerais. Both states are home to Doce River, one of the most important river basin from the southeast region in Brazil. An area that belongs to the Atlantic Forest biome, center of attention in environmental recovery promoted by the NGO.

In its foundation, Instituto Terra sought sustainable fundamentals in all of its nuances. Even the architectural project adopted construction standards that privileges the integration with nature.

As an element of preservation and memory, the old barn structures – once used in the farm's daily activities – suffered interventions in order to shelter, for example, the administration offices. The old scale used to weigh the cattle is currently a pleasant canteen.

The unit of building and construction also host accommodations for teachers, researchers and students. All building with accessibility.

A flowered park all year round
A chapter that stands out in the history of Instituto Terra, the landscaping has been conceived by the institutions co-founder, Lélia Deluiz Wanick Salgado. The kind of flowers, blooming time and type of species chosen for the gardens were meticulously observed, allowing a show of colors, shapes and different shadows of green making part of the greater reforesting project from RPPN Bulcão Farm. Therefore the garden has become unique among all facilities and living spaces, always attractive to the eyes of those who visit Terra Institute, regardless of the season of the year.
Planting Trees and a Future
Along with the new forest, all the functions of RPPN Bulcão Farm have been conceived to turn the Instituto Terra in a great center of environmental knowledge, based on research, recovery and forest conservation, revitalization of water resources, aiming at increasing agricultural production and improving the quality of lives in rural areas.

To spread the technology know-how developed in recovering the Atlantic Forest, the Instituto Terra promotes countless Environmental Education projects. Aimed at a diverse public, all the programs target stimulating a reflection on the current model of development, empowering the creation of transformation agents toward a sustainable development.

Tourist attraction and sightseeing venue in the small city of Aimorés, east of the state of Minas Gerais, Instituto Terra offers guided tours to RPPN Bulcão Farm, having ecological trails and culture and art promotion spaces.

During the guided tour, required to be scheduled previously, the visitor has the opportunity to know several samples of fauna and flora species from the Atlantic Forest, all in the route integrated to the first plantations done to reforest RPPN Bulcão Farm.

Launched in August 2004, besides showing films and theater plays, the Movie Teather Terra is used for holding seminars, debates and workshops, receiving the Aimores community and neighboring cities.

É possível ajudar o Instituto Terra a plantar mais árvores e a proteger mais nascentes. Saiba como visitando o site institucional (www.institutoterra.org) ou pela loja virtual (http://institutoterrastore.com/). Participe desse ideal.

Whoever visits Instituto Terra has the chance to know a little history from Krenak indigenous groups, ancestors from Aymores (Botocudos), since the collection and artifacts and utensils that make part of the collection in Aimores Archeological Museum Center. The pieces in exhibition were found in excavations for the construction of a hydroelectric plant in the region.

The challenge to recover Atlantic Forest' s biodiversity
In its essence the Instituto Terra has been conceived as great forest recovery lab. Counting with an Atlantic Forest native species nursery able to produce one million seedling per year, one of Brazil's biggest. Great majority of the seedlings produced are sent to external reforesting and spring protection projects that the environmental NGO performs in several locations along the Rio Doce Valley, one the original Brazilian regions covered by the Atlantic Forest vegetation that today are among the most degraded in the country.

The production of native seedlings are among the greatest challenges to supply the recovery of Atlantic Forest, a biome that plays an essential role in mitigating climate change and regulation the rain system.

With vast biodiversity, the recovery of Atlantic Forest can assist in improving and increasing water flow, increasing agricultural production and promoting sustainable development, among many other benefits to this area once covered by this vegetation.

The Atlantic Forest is one the richest biome in endemic plants of the world, that is, plant species only found in its area. Examples of this diversity are, boleira, jenipapo, cherry tree, cajá mirim, pau ferro, pau brasil, embaúba, angico canjiquinha, red angico, yellow ipê, purple ipê, aroeira pepper, among many others – that annually leave Instituto Terra's nursery to recover the Rio Doce Valley with the Atlantic Forest green.

The Instituto Terra counts with a Seed Laboratory where it researches and organizes technical information about all the forest seedling production process. All of this knowledge is made available free to the public through the "Portal Semear"(www.portalsemear.org). A pioneer initiative in Brazil, this portal has had support from the National Economical and Social Development Bank through an initiative from BNDES Atlantic Forest.

More green, more water
Once recovered the forest in RPPN Bulcão Farm, Instituto Terra witness the return of water sources that before were in risk of drying. From this experience the Program “Olhos D'Água” (Water Eyes) was initiated, aiming at recovering and protecting all the springs in the Doce River Water Basin, estimated at over 370 thousand. A program to take many years and has already started.

Seeding forest and water. This is how, through many actions, an intense and constant community relationship, partnerships, that Terra Institute keeps strengthening its mission to help promote the sustainable development of Doce River Valley.

Instituto Terra
Credits: Story

Visit www.institutoterra.org to know how it is possible to contribute with the projects under development.

Exhibition - "It is possible to recover the Atlantic Forest"
Editing and Text by Maria Helena Fabriz
Translated to English by Zclass Business English Services - Zach Cheibub
Audio by Faunativa for Instituto Terra
Video by Leonardo Merçon for Instituto Terra
Photos - Credits in the media

The Instituto Terra is a community non-profit non-governmental organization that operates in the whole territory of the Valley of the River Doce between the states of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo, Brazil. The Institute has defined its objectives as restoration of the ecosystem, production of Atlantic Forest seedlings, environmental outreach programs, environmental education and applied scientific research. The Instituto Terra manages the 1,754-acre Bulcão Farm, 1,502 acres of which have been declared a Private Natural Heritage Reserve.

Instituto Terra - RPPN Bulcão Farm
Aimorés / MG / Brazil
Zip code: 35200-000

Phone: +55 33 3267 2025

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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