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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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