Category Archives: Uncategorized

Bromeliad Research

University student Juliana Leal is conducting a new experiment as part of her doctorate on bromeliads here at REGUA.

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Juliana Leal

One thinks an epiphyte absorbs nutrients from their host but far from it, the roots of the bromeliads merely fix the plant to the branches, rocks or soil on which it lives.   Leaves of bromeliads are fixed at their base in a circular arrangement that trap rainwater and any material falling from above on which algae thrive.    Incoming sunlight powers the ecosystem, and aquatic organisms feed on algae in the bromeliad’s small pools, but ecologists are intrigued as to what is more important; the algae or the dead organic material falling into the watery habitat?    What maintains the flow of energy in an aquatic ecosystem, algae or the incoming organic material?

Juliana has set up a field of identical bromeliads at REGUA with different sunlight filters that allow varying levels of sunlight to reach the plant.   As algae numbers increase with sunlight she can vary the sunlight and measure the number of invertebrates feeding on algae to build a correlation.    But is there a minimal shade necessary?    We shall have the answers soon.

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Micaela, Nicholas, Sue, Adilei, Rachel, Alcenir, Lee, Raquel & Tom in the Lodge garden July 2016 (© REGUA)

In spite of scandals of corruption and the scares of Zika, Brazil is working hard to improve it’s image and the Olympics and Paralympics showed the world that Brazil has much to offer the world community.

Conservation of the world’s natural heritage is a concern that involves us all and REGUA is an example of dedication and care for our corner of Brazil.

Results from 2016 show that with the support from our UK team, our staff on the ground and our many supporters worldwide, we can and have made a huge difference. Forests are growing where seedlings were planted and children are learning about the importance of conservation from their visits to REGUA. Researchers reveal Atlantic Forest secrets and our rangers ensure that REGUA’s forests are respected.

Our visitors continue to leave impressed with all that they see, and into this mini Eden, tapirs will be released next year, engaging more people and promoting our efforts. None of this would be possible without your support and therefore Raquel and I on behalf of REGUA’s team, dedicate this Christmas to you all!

Help us to keep up the good work and we will show you the changes that make REGUA a very special place.

Tree Planting begins!

Planting has resumed at REGUA for the 2016 season, we have started just before our summer rains in a grassland area in a property supported by the Danish Travel Fund.

Planting begins (© Nicholas Locke)

Although REGUA had only a World Land Trust grant to plant 5000 trees we decided to take action and plant a much larger area as a result of a grassland fire a month ago.    The scorched grass gave us a head start in preparing the planting of our trees.   REGUA had close to 80 native tree species ready to plant and then purchased a further 20 species from local INEA nursery to add to the tree diversity.

Extra hands were found in the local community and equipped with one petrol driven digger we have already planted half the area.   A road was also made to acccess the higher areas.    Tomorrow Famath University workshop students have requested the opportunity to plant 300 trees a offer we accepted with pleasure.

Replanting trees needs every ounce of help!

P.S since this article the sun has come out and the rains have stopped so our planting is on hold for a few days until the next rains come.

Tufted (Brown) Capuchin

A troop of 20 Tufted (Brown) Capuchin were seen on our Casa Anibal/ 4 X 4 trail on 7th November.

Tufted (Brown) Capuchin (Cebus apella)
Tufted (Brown) Capuchin (Cebus apella) (© Paul Duffner)

Cirilo (one of our resident bird guides) was walking with Paul Duffner and his family when they happened across these delightful creatures.

Paul’s daughter Clara had volunteered here in March 2012 and was amazed by the changes in the forests and the growth of the trees.

 

 

The Theodora Trail

Few people from REGUA visit the Theodora Trail which is a shame as it has some great birds and is probably the easiest trail for walking.

The trail starts beside the main road from Cachoeiras to Nova Friburgo at about 1,200m and follows the route of a long-gone railway line – so it has a very gentle downhill gradient ending back at the main road only a few hundred metres lower.

Black-throated Trogon
Black-throated Trogon (© Alan Martin)

In October I walked the trail with Adilei and amongst the good birds seen were great views of Shrike-like Cotinga, Spot-winged Wood Quail, Black-throated Trogon, Bertoni’s Antbird, Sharpbill, Greenish Schiffornis, Bellbird, Eared Pygmy-Tyrant, Barred Forest Falcon and many many more.

Young Rangers meet snakes

Vital Brasil Institute produces antivenom, for snake, scorpion and spider bites.  Guilherme Jones, a young biologist working at the Institute, was invited by REGUA to give a talk on venomous snakes of the Crotalus, Bothrops and Elapidae genera.

REGUA’s Young Rangers were thrilled to have the opportunity to get a close-up view of some live snakes which were carefully and diligently handled by Guilherme.

Tom Locke

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Guilherme Jones shows snakes to the Young Rangers (© REGUA)

Jacutinga at Funchal School

Jacutinga model
Jacutinga model

Funchal school recently organised a Science Day in which the Black-Fronted-Piping Guan (Aburria jacutinga) was the star of the day.

 

The reintroduction project of this species at REGUA will soon take place and Livia Dias, the biologist in charge of monitoring them was present with her young son, Artur.

 

With models of the bird and information on the re-introduction process,  and the part that these arboreal birds play in the overall biodiversity of the forest, the day was a great success.   Both Raquel Locke and Prof. Carlos from REGUA were delighted to attend.

Livia Dias, Raquel Locke and Staff at Funchal School
Livia Dias, Raquel Locke and Staff at Funchal School (©REGUA)

 

Meeting with local members of the community and especially education in local schools is a vital part of the re-introduction project and also fits well with REGUA’s mission to further environmental education work in the area.

 

Congratulations to the headmaster, teachers, pupils and staff for this wonderful event.

Tom Locke

Guanabara Watershed Committee

REGUA have been invited to attend meetings of the Eastern Bay of Guanabara Watershed Committee (held in Niteroi city) which is gaining momentum and reputation.   The Group discuss and plan the future requirements of water use for the general public, government and industry.

This is an important committee to have representation in, as the concept of payments for ecological  services is gradually being discussed and could possibly soon be implemented.   REGUA may be eligible for future payments as we protect the water of the Guapiaçu river and restore forests in the watershed.

Raquel Locke, REGUA’s Vice President and Lorena an independent mapping consultant working with REGUA, will attend these meetings.   The Rio de Janeiro Government accepts and understands the strategic importance of the eastern Guanabara bay area for the provision of clean drinking water to eastern Rio de Janeiro and its metropolitan areas.

The Guapiaçu and Macacu rivers have their sources in Cachoeiras de Macacu Municipality.   Together they provide water to over 3.5 million people in Metropolitan Rio de Janeiro and the inclusion of REGUA within this initiative enables us to encourage the replication of our model within this vital area.

 

Caça na REGUA

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Uma Paca Cuniculus paca morta encontrada na REGUA (© REGUA)
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Um Tatu-Galinha Dasypus novemcinctus morto a tiro encontrado por um dos nossos guarda-parques (© REGUA)

Embora a caça tenha sido severamente reduzida na REGUA, como resultado do patrulhamento pelos nossos guarda-florestais, ainda ocorre esporadicamente.
A Caça na região é cada vez menos popular – os caçadores mais velhos estão desistindo e os mais jovens não estão tão motivados por este “esporte” e, como resultado do desenvolvimento do nosso sistema de trilhas e uma década de educação ambiental, esta ação perniciosa tem sido em grande parte eliminada e em geral a população de animais dentro da REGUA aumentou. Armadilhas fotográficas com câmera de vídeo flagraram a Onça Parda Puma concolor e bandos de queixadas Pecari tajacu forrageando nas trilhas.

Habitualmnte, os caçadores têm respeitado os limites da REGUA, e tiros à noite são uma coisa do passado, mas muito ocasionalmente vemos evidência de algumas armadilhas e tocaias. Como a área da REGUA aumenta de tamanho, os guarda-parques são sobrecarregados de forma a cobrir toda a área, e foi bastante desconcertante que um membro da comunidade local tenha recebido esta fotografia de uma Paca Paca cuniculus morta em uma área remota pertencente à REGUA.

É doloroso o abate a sangue frio deste animal e nos lembra que há aqueles que não respeitam os esforços da REGUA para impedir este tipo de matança sem sentido. Recorda-nos que, embora a biodiversidade esteja se recuperando de dias distantes, existem pessoas por aí que não compartilham nossa paixão e não se importam. Isto deveria nos encorajar a manter o rumo e usar nossas ‘armas’: que estamos ganhando terreno, que as florestas estão se tornando mais saudáveis e que o nosso objetivo merece todo o esforço.

Um dos nossos parceiros do Reino Unido, o World Land Trust, está fazendo campanha para levantar £40.000 de modo a permitir que a REGUA compre uma área de floresta no vale do Guapiaçu que se encontra sob a ameaça de caça, bem como de urbanização descontrolada. Ao acrescentar esta área de floresta à reserva, seremos capazes de patrulhar a floresta e dissuadir os caçadores. Por favor, ajudem, fazendo uma doação para o World Land Trust patrocinando o Olympic Forest Reserve Appeal. Obrigado.

REGUA’s new minibus

REGUA has finalised the exchange of its Renault minibus for a brand new Mercedes model to transfer guests to and from Rio de Janeiro airport and other destinations.

This minibus – with reclining seats, armrests, air conditioning and loads of space – is perfect for a comfortable ride from pickups in Rio de Janeiro and also for our offsite birding excursions. Our driver Alcenir is pleased as punch and looks forward to meeting new friends from around the world and giving them an introductory insight into Brazil and it’s bird life along the way to REGUA. The journey from Rio de Janeiro to REGUA is just under two hours and there are a couple of refreshments stops along the way. See you soon!

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Alcenir with REGUA’s new Mercedes minibus (© Nicholas Locke)
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Alcenir at the helm (© Lee Dingain)
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The Mercedes is very roomy (© Lee Dingain)
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Plenty of seats in the new minibus (© Lee Dingain)