Masked Duck

Masked Duck female (©: Adilei Carvalho da Cunha)

With the Covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions on travel, as with so many places around the world, REGUA tourism levels have collapsed.

Rainforest Trust, who have helped to raise funds for us over the years,  came to our aid and helped us  support Adilei, REGUA’s bird guide until guests can return.

With this hiatus in his usual work Adilei has been able to do many regular walks around the reserve as well as maintaining the trails.   On a recent survey of the wetlands,  Adilei spotted a female Masked Duck in the middle of one of the wetland lakes.   He played the call and to his surprise the bird flew toward him and landed a few metres away.   The bird called with a series of short high-pitched calls in a falling crescendo.

Masked Duck is associated with wetlands which have rafts of water plants on the surface.   They use these plants as camouflage and hide out of sight.   As it is small duck and sits rather low in the water it can be very hard to find.   Adilei’s photograph actually shows the bird in relatively clear water, maybe it was reassured by the call and Adilei’s calm, quiet enjoyment.

REGUA’s wetlands have always had this species and many guests have seen it here, however as the wetlands have matured and with the growth of the planted trees, and increased weed growth, sightings have reduced and they have become increasingly hard to see.

A male was seen last year and with this latest sighting, hopefully we will be able to see more of them in the future.

Solitary Tinamou at REGUA

Birding at REGUA is not so easy and demands much attention and physical resistance from the birder. Trekking up slopes of what remains of the Atlantic Rainforest in a hot climate and with birds that are naturally shy, makes for hard birding conditions. The forest litter that protects the soil and retains soil moisture makes for noisy crunchy walks, giving away one’s presence in the attempt to catch a glimpse of any bird. One of the toughest birds to see is the Solitary Tinamou, (Tinamus solitarius), a large terrestrial bird that was historically much persecuted for Sunday meals. The Solitary Tinamou is an Atlantic Rainforest endemic feeding mostly on insects and toady it is labelled “Near” threatened by the IUCN red data list.

Though hunting has significantly reduced at REGUA, on any forest walk, we can hear these birds call very occasionally, though to see one is another matter. It is probably easier to find a ground nest with a couple of emerald green eggs than the birds themselves.

Adilei recounted his joy at hearing an adult call on one of his walks and when trying to stalk it found only a young chick attempting to merge in with the leaves. Naturally well camouflaged, it went into the brush to make it hard to catch a crisp image. This was a joyous moment for Adilei, as one so rarely sees these birds in the wild. A good sign that REGUA efforts in protection and conservation is contributing to increase their numbers.

Research on Anuran Seconday Production

Msc student from Rio de Janeiro State University, João Souza,  is developing his fieldwork at REGUA for his research project aiming to establish how fragmented areas in the Atlantic Forest could affect secondary production of tadpoles.

One of the fragments chosen to be studied. There are 32 artifitial ponds where students conduct their experimental work (© Micaela Locke).

João also    wishes to    demonstrate    through his    research the    important  role of isolated    mother        trees in helping to maintain natural    ecosystem      processes. As  part of these    ecosystem    processes    he is    specifically    looking at net secondary yeld, however it is important to remember the previous stepraw primary yeld. Terrestrial ecosystems rely on the sun’s energy to support the growth and metabolism of their resident organisms. Plants are known for being biomass factories powered by    sunlightsupplying organisms higher up the food chain with energy and the structural      “building blocks of life”. Autotrophs are terrestrial prime yeld producersorganisms that      manufacturethrough photosynthesis, new organic molecules (carbohydrates and lipidsfrom raw inorganic materials (CO2, water,    mineral nutrients).

The energy from the sun is stored on the newly created chemical bondsbeing then source of energy to heterotroph organismsHeterotrophs are secondary yeld producersrather    consuming than producing organic molecules.   

Captured tadpole to be taken to laboratory (© Micaela Locke).

Net secondary yeld (NSY)    historically represents the    formation of living biomass of a heterotrophic population or group of populations  over some period of time. It’s known    that not all food eaten by an individual is      converted into new animal  biomass (NSY),  onlyfraction of the material ingested is assimilated from the      digestive tractthe remainder passes out as fecesOf the material assimilatedonly a fraction contributes to growth of an individual’s    mass or to reproduction — both of which ultimately represent net yeld. Most    of the rest is consumed by normal methabolims (like respiration). 

Student João Souza collecting tadpoles on one of the artificial ponds (© Micaela Locke).

 

João’s research may supply    important data highlighting the      importance of conserving      vegetation fragments – even      standing trees – to help maintain      essential natural ecosystem    processes like NSY. He    also wishes to understand how the group of anuransone of the      largest vertebrate taxa with many    threatened species, is affected by    the loss of vegetation. 

A mysterious creature at REGUA’s Visitor Centre

Every evening, for the last six months, REGUA´s Visitor Centre  was  visited by a mysterious nocturnal animal. It was common to see pellets and white stains on cars and all over the floor first thing in the morning. We finally found out that the elusive creature was a Barn-owl (Tyto furcata)! It is nesting at the top of an old tree by REGUA’s common area and feeding on small vertebrates.

During day time, Barn-owls sleep or nest in church towers, attics of houses and tree hollows (© Nicholas Locke).

Widely distributedthis species occurs in all the Americas, except for the densely forested regions of the Amazon. Barn-owls inhabit open and semi-open areas and they are more active at dusk and at night.  They are commonly  seen flying low or on top of fences along the roadDuring day time, they sleep or nest in church towersattics of houses and tree hollows. An unmistakable feature of the species is their heart-shaped face. Males and females are quite similar however, the male may present a white underpart while the female may present a cream to light brown colour underpart 

Barn-owls feed on rodents, invertebrates and some larger mammals and small birds. Studies have shown that this species is able to separate different materials in their stomach, including hairbones and other non-digestible parts. The pellet cycle is regular, regurgitating the remains when the digestive system has finished extracting the nutrition from the food. This is often done at a favourite roost. When an Owl is about to produce a pellet, it will take on a pained expression. Owl pellets differ from other birds of prey in that they contain a greater proportion of food residue. This is because an owl’s digestive juices are less acidic than in other birds of prey. 

The Barn-owl using the tree hollow as her nest (© Nicholas Locke).

Research on Coleoptera at REGUA

Ederson and Beatriz looking for Weevils on the Southern Cattail (Typha domingensis) (© Micaela Locke).

Scientific research, contributes to the generation of local knowledge and helps the scientific community to fill in several gaps and areas of knowledge that still need to be investigated.

This week we have the visit of two researchers, Ederson and Beatriz, from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), who are looking for Amalactus carbonarius species larvae. This beetle belongs to the Curculionidae family, known as Weevils. It was found recently that this species finds shelter on the Southern Cattail (Typha domingensis), which is found at REGUA’s wetlands.

 

 

A Weevel found on the Southern Cattail (Typha domingensis) (© Micaela Locke).

 

Typha domingensis is a very invasive plant spreading freely when in a suitable site. This is fine when growing on its native habitat, but the plant can become a serious weed in managed aquatic systems worldwide.

For that reason, it is important to keep the right balance between the area these plants occupy, in order to guarantee a minimum number of individuals that can shelter different insects.

 

Rufuscent Tiger-Herons at the wetlands

The Rufuscent Tiger-Heron after capturing a fish from the Gymnotus genus (© Claudia Bauer).

The Rufescent Tiger-Heron (Tigrisoma lineatum) is often seen at REGUA’s wetlands. This species belongs to the Ardeidae family and inhabits Central and South America. Its head, sides of the head, and long, thick neck are rich chestnut brown to rufous cinnamon. The bill is relatively long, up to 10 cm, appearing slightly up tilted, and varies in colour according to age and season, in ways that are not well understood. Immature birds are variable, undergoing gradual plumage changes through the fifth year. The adult Rufescent Tiger-Heron is identified by its rich chestnut to rufous brown neck and head, dark and white lined throat, dark flanks with narrow white bands, white banded under wings, and relatively long neck and lower legs. Male and female reaching adult age are alike, although there is an indication of sexual difference in plumage details.

 

 

The captured fish belongs to the Gymnotus genus. This fish order is able to generate a strong electric field, however this species probably generates a weaker electric field, unlike his related species, the electric eel (© Claudia Bauer).

This species inhabits wooded tropical swamps. It occurs especially along slow-moving rivers in swamp forests, gallery forest, mangrove swamps and in other extensive forested wetlands. It is a typical bird from the great wetlands of South America, the Amazon, the Paraguayan and Argentinean Chaco, and the Brazilian Mato Grosso. It is common to spot them on rainy and dark days, as they seem to be lonely bird. Their nests are often built on top of trees and shrubs, composed by many sticks. The breeding season is not well documented and there is a need for additional study. Its diet includes fish, amphibians, insects, and snakes. Its long tarsus, bill, and neck suggests a primary adaptation for fishing. When they feel threatened, they remain motionless until they finally fly, finding shelter on top of the trees.

These pictures were taken by Claudia Bauer, a renowned Brazilian ornithologist who belongs to a birdwatcher’s club in Rio de Janeiro. She often comes to REGUA to photograph birds and nature. It is an inspiring hobby!

© Claudia Bauer

© HeronConservation

“Private Reserve for the Patrimony of Nature”

January 31st, “Private Reserve for the Patrimony of Nature”.

(RPPN Portuguese acronym) Brazil’s Atlantic Rainforest is basically tropical forest that stretches 20 degrees of latitude hugging South America’s continental rim. From seashore and beach vegetation to lofty mountain peaks, this biome is a mixture of endless habitats with unique and rich biodiversity that contributes to one of the highest rates of endemism on the planet. However, it is also the region of historical occupation and this has made this region a global conservation “hotspot”, and it needs all the help it can get!

Nicholas and Raquel Locke, REGUA’s president and vice-president (© R Fitipaldi).

Três Picos State Park and adjacent protected areas form the largest remnant of Atlantic Forest in the state of Rio de Janeiro. It is in this area that the NGO Reserva Ecológica de Guapiaçu (REGUA) is located. REGUA’s mission is the protection of the Guapiaçu catchment and one effective tool for long term conservation is the creation of “Private Reserve for the Patrimony of Nature”, or simply “RPPN” of a property’s forested area. REGUA applies to the RJ State environmental agency INEA, requesting areas be officially registered as RPPN.
REGUA has established 5 RPPNs adjacent to the Park’s perimeter, totaling 700 hectares and REGUA wants more!. Activities such as environmental education, scientific research and visitation can occur with the support of REGUA´s staff.
RPPN offers protection for biodiversity and defines the land use of areas outside existing parks, both important aspects for future regional planning. Any farmer with forests in their property can effectively protect them and we hope that more land owners rally to having a RPPN!
Today we celebrate the “RPPN” day and we wish all the success to the owners and congratulate the authorities INEA and ICMBIO for actively participating and supporting this process.

REGUA’s RPPN include wetlands and planted forests that offer a gateway for tapir reintroduction (© Thomas Locke).

Miltonia moreliana

A close-up of the species Miltonia moreliana (© Micaela Locke).

This week, at REGUA’s orchid house, the species Miltonia moreliana was in flower. It is a beautiful orchid usually found at around 300 metres above sea level in old secondary forests.

A small South American genus of which nine species are found in Brazil and seven of these occur in the Serra dos Orgãos mountain range. Miltonia moreliana requires abundant sun exposure, moderate humidity and ventilation.

Whenever we feel like getting to know orchids occurring on our mountain range a bit better, we ask specialists like Maria do Rosário de Almeida Braga or we look at the book “The Organ Mountain Range, Its History and Its Orchids: Rio de Janeiro” by David Miller (Author), Richard Warren (Author), Izabel Moura Miller (Author and photographer) and Helmut Seehawer (Contributor). It’s a fantastic publication!

 

UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration

On March 1st 2019, the UN General Assembly declared 2021-2030 UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. There exists an urgent need to accelerate global restoration of degraded ecosystems to combat climate change and biodiversity loss. Healthy ecosystems are essential for sustainable development that contributes to poverty alleviation. The UN Environment Programme and UN FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) are leading the global movement which includes over 70 countries committed to restoring more than 170 million hectares of degraded land worlwide. Ecosystem Restoration implies environmental,social and economic gains through which people´s well-being and nature´s resilience is enhanced.
REGUA is one example of good practice conducive to these global goals.

 

Drone footage of the wetlands at REGUA (© Thomas Locke).

Anuran community in pasture puddles

Beatriz, Jeferson and Orlando having a look at the Anuran community in one of the studied pasture puddles (© Jeferson Ribeiro Amaral).

Among the few students who visited REGUA last year, a very atypical year in which most universities’ field trips were cancelled due to Covid-19 pandemic, PhD student Beatriz Ferreira proceeded with her research topic of evaluating how pasture management with isolated tree clumps decreases the effect of deforestation and encourages the presence of Anuran tadpoles in pasture puddles.

Anurans use these ponds for reproduction which become fundamental to their existence. Jefferson Ribeiro and Orlando de Marques Vogelbacher accompanied Beatriz on her last 2020 field trip to REGUA. They are both Biology PhD students and have taken beautiful pictures of flora and fauna found at REGUA.

 

Green-headed tanager close to the common area at REGUA (© Jeferson Ribeiro Amaral).

For the last 20 years, REGUA has been encouraging and supporting research carried out by national and foreign universities.

Research at REGUA is one of the main pillars on which we base our conservation mission in the upper Guapiaçu watershed. Ultimately, understanding the dynamics of nature allows us to acknowledge that Mother Earth’s environmental services are paramount to human permanence on the planet.

We hope continuing welcoming researchers and students this year.

A Burrowing owl taking care of her nest (© Jeferson Ribeiro Amaral).

Dahlstedtia pinnata

Plants belonging to Dahlstedtia genus occur exclusively within the Atlantic Forest in Rio de Janeiro, Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul states in Brazil.

This genus is represented by two species: D.pinnata and D.pentaphylla. However, some specialists consider the genus as monotypic. Dahlstedtia plants grow both as bushes and trees. Hummingbirds regularly visit their beautiful pink or reddish flowers.

Locally known as “Timbo”, its roots and bark were used by indigenous people to dumb and asphixiate fish as part of their fishing practices.

This Dahlstedtia was found and photographed within a new acquired area by REGUA.

Dahlstedtia flower (© Raquel Locke).

 

“Bosques da Memória”.

“Bosques da Memória” Campaign.

The “Bosques da Memória” Campaign 2020 is all about planting trees  as a tribute to COVID-19 victims, and a way to thank doctors and those working in hospitals in Brazil.

We are all going through a difficult year due to the Covid pandemic, forcing us to slow down and adapt to a different life style. This only adds to the climate crisis and the forest fires and deforestation, which have destroyed many forests in Brazil.

This campaign offers us some hope to change the loss of forests, reminding us of the risks of climate change.

Trees to be planted at REGUA will be dedicated to those impacted by Covid. There are already 21 sites sharing in this campaign across the country. The idea is to involve different conservation institutions, NGOs and  those individuals who want to take part.

Anyone who feels like dedicating the memory of a lost one through planting a tree, please contact us.

 

REGUA’s nursery (© Micaela Locke)

An Inaturalist update

The Dutchman Jean-Paul Boerekamps visited REGUA in 2018 and returned last week in spite of the global Covid scare, to complete a Bioblitz around the mountainous region of Nova Friburgo and also at REGUA. Though a birder, he has become increasingly a Naturalist and through the digital platform “Inaturalist”, he came to SE Brazil with the mission of photographing and uploading images of all creatures and plants, and inspiring others with his passion!

Jean-Paul adding observations into Inaturalist (© Nicholas Locke).

REGUA’s Bioblitz lasted a week and together we managed to make one thousand different species observations, half of which have been positively identified by the Inaturalist community. JP visited  “Waldenoor”, a restored area that slowly shifts into a more mature forest; the green trail, where he was accompanied by Rildo de Oliveira, in charge of patrolling/monitoring the highest and most preserved forests at REGUA; the “Fragment”, where he could walk through a special remnant of well-preserved lowland forest; and the Vecchi reserve, 15 km away from REGUA, composed mostly by open areas, allowing whoever visits it to have a good idea of local biodiversity.   

 

JP photographed many moths that came to the moth wall every evening, attracted by light that strongly stimulates/excites them. One special observation was a moth belonging to the Notodontidae – subfamily Dioptinae.

Moth belonging to the Family Notodontia photographed on the moth wall at REGUA (© Jean-Paul Boerekamps).

According to our butterfly expert Jorge Bizarro, this is an uncommon species, which is difficult to identify. Jorge knows that it belongs to the subfamily Dioptinae, a group of diurnal Neotropical moths, many of which have bright winged colours. Identifying certain species on i-naturalist is never easy, so sharing one’s observations allows one to practice the concept of citizen science and allows one to exchange knowledge with others similarly interested in th same subject. This process allows experts and beginners to exchange information.

Now that the Bioblitz is over, we can add observations to ‘REGUA Biodiversity Celebration’, a long term project that is soon to reach 10 thousand observations by the end of this year. If any of you would like to help us,  any of you who have visited REGUA may contribute to this project by uploading previous observations. It’s quite straightforward; you just need to create an Inaturalist account and upload your photographs from your computer or your phone. We would really like you to help us achieve this result. Here is the link;  https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/regua-biodiversity-celebration and add your sighting! Thanks JP for sharing your passion with us all here at REGUA!

Inaturalist

We are preparing ourselves for a Bioblitz week that will take place in mid November 2020. The project entitled ‘REGUA Bioblitz  17-24 November 2020’ is part of the Inaturalist citizen science initiative.  INaturalist is a platform where you can record what you see in nature, meeting other nature lovers and scientists and learning about the natural world around us. You can use it to record your own observationseither uploading your pictures on the website or even using the app. It’s recommendable downloading the app. The platform uses AI (artificial intelligence) for flora and fauna identification in case you need some help.

REGUA Bioblitz 17-24 November 2020 project (© Inaturalist).

Everyone can become a naturalist photographing their subject of interest contributing to scienceAdhering to citizen science allows us to learn and understand about nature
There is also a longterm project called ”REGUA Biodiversity Celebration” that already counts with more than 7.000 observations exhibiting more than 1.700 flora and fauna speciesThis project was conceived by the contribution of many people who posted their photographsincluding past records from previous trips and some others who helped to identify speciesAdding observations help REGUA acknowledge which species are present within its territoryIt’s worth considering the following tips:  

Every picture is relevantYou don’t have to be a brilliant photographer (on the contrary, in some cases the system learns more from low resolution images); 

You don’t have to be a specialist to post observationsYou can upload pictures of ordinaryday to day species. Just inform the system which is the taxonomic group you are referring to; 

When posting an observation within REGUA’s territory, it will be automatically included in the project related to REGUA; 

It’s a good opportunity to learn about the different taxonomic groupsBear in mind there are specialists looking at your observations and that they can help you identify them; 

It’s fun to go through Inaturalist and you will have good memories of REGUA while uploading your pictures.

REGUA Biodiversity Celebration project (©Inaturalist).

 

A special thank you to Jean-Paul Boerekamps, Andrew Wilson and Projetomantis  for their valuable support!

 

 

Tapir Jasmin being released into the wild

TAPIRS ARE RETURNING TO RIO DE JANEIRO FORESTS AFTER 100 YEARS OF EXTINCTION  

Professor Maron Galliez, the project coordinator, trying to remove Jasmin from the puddle (© João Stutz).

Professors Fernando Fernandez, Alexandra Pires, Maron Galliez and Marcelo Rheingantz conceived REFAUNA project with the purpose of reintroducing and managing fauna species which are locally extinct or are suffering some level of threat within their original distribution. Introducing animals into the wild help reestablish the interaction animal-plant and ecological  processes, contributing for the development of a healthy and balanced  ecosystem. The fundamental ecological processes of ecosystems are the water cycle, biogeochemical (or nutrient) cycling, energy flow and community dynamics which support the long-term persistence of biodiversity. Fragmentation and habitat loss have negatively impacted medium and larger forest mammal populations. In large forest fragmentsoverhunting has driven several mammal  species to both significant population reduction and species extinctionThis human interference in forest dynamics has impacted species diversity and abundance resulting in what is known as “defaunation’ in the Anthropocene .                                                                                                             

REFAUNA Tapir reintroduction programme at REGUA started in 2017 and is supported and implemented by Rio de Janeiro Federal University (UFRJ), Rio de Janeiro State University (UERJ), Rio de Janeiro Federal Rural University (UFRRJ) and Rio de Janeiro Federal Institute (IFRJ)To date, 11 tapirs (females and males) have been reintroduced within REGUA´s land.

Moody Jasmin not wanting to leave the release pen (© Vitor Marigo).

In August 2020 we had the female tapir Jasmin arriving at REGUA. She came from Guarulhos zoo, in São Paulo, and spent about 3 months on the release pen to get familiarized with the new environment. There were feeding points set up by one of our staff members, Sidnei, who came every day to feed Jasmin. Finally, the release day arrived! It was meant to happen the previous day; however, Jasmin was a bit moody and nervous, so she threw herself into the puddle and didn’t leave the release pen area. Only today we managed to open the gate allowing Jasmin to leave the release pen without hesitation. These next days are very important to keep track of Jasmin. She is being monitored by a tracking collar and she will probably be looking for a place to settle.   

 

Going, Going, Gone.

Going, Going, Gone. by Josef O’Connor, on display at the Royal Academy of Arts (© Josef O’Connor)

British artist Josef O’Connor has teamed up with our UK partner the World Land Trust to help save 20 hectares of Atlantic Forest in the Guapiaçu valley. Josef is selling edition prints of his work entitled Going, Going, Gone, currently on display as Lot 44 at the Royal Academy Winter Exhibition in London.

Centuries of deforestation have left a mere 7% of the original Atlantic Forest area standing, and what is left remains highly threatened. With generous donations, REGUA is able to purchase areas of Atlantic Forest in the Guapiaçu valley as well as reforest cleared areas to connect these fragments, restoring deforested land and preserving the Atlantic Forest’s unique biodiversity.

Going, Going, Gone features a visual representation of the area to be purchased. Lot 44 is a screen-print onto an aerial photograph of the region, with 100 prints available at £400 each to raise £20,000. Each print sold in the edition equates to 0.5 acres.

Josef is hoping that environmentally conscious art lovers will help him raise funds to save this area of forest. “We all know our way of life is killing the planet, so we have a clear choice – either take responsibility for our actions and work together to bring about positive change, or face the stark reality that the ecosystems we all rely on will soon be lost forever. Going, Going, Gone was conceived to encourage people to be part of the solution. It’s a great opportunity to be part of something truly transformational, so I’m hopeful it will really appeal to those determined to make a difference.”

Going, Going Gone by Josef O’Connor will be on show until 3rd January 2021, and prints of Lot 44 to raise funds for this appeal are available for purchase here.

Guapiaçu III Water Quality Monitoring Programme in Cachoeiras de Macacu and Itaboraí Municipalities

Macroinvertebrate analysis done by one of the environmental monitors (© Tatiana Horta).

The Water Quality Monitoring Programme is an integral part of Guapiaçu III Environmental Education scheme at Regua. This initiative aims at raising young people’s awareness of water resources, its use and its care indicating the association between forest and water provision. 

The programme targets Cachoeiras de Macacu and Itaborai municipal and state-run school students who are trained to collect and analyse the Guapiaçu, Macacu and Caceribu river waters. Water sampling (physical, chemical and biological elements in the water) takes place at 12 different sites both upstream and downstream urban areas of the referred rivers.  

Covid-19 pandemic outbreak at the beginning of the year forced this programme to be held online with no water sampling trips organized. In October, the project team reinstated the latter following strict guidelines from health agencies including the use of personal protective equipment and working with small groups. The reinstated water sampling trip was carried out at point 7, in Boca do Mato neighbourhood which is located upstream Cachoeiras de Macacu town. Students were able to learn about benthic macroinvertebrates, which are water quality bioindicators.

Water sampling awakens a new approach to water use in young people in addition to being a very different and fun activity. 45 Environmental Monitors in Cachoeiras de Macacu were trained and are now ready to assist Guapiacu III project team in this programme. Guapiacu III project is currently starting the on-line Itaborai municipality school students´s recruiting process.

 

Professor Pericles and students collecting benthic macroinvertebrates (© Tatiana Horta).

Tree monitoring programme

After the tree planting period, the phase known as post-implementation consists of the maintenance of the future forest. It is important to protect planted saplings especially from the negative effects of opportunistic weeds, insects such as the leaf-cutting ants and diseases. When necessary, new seedlings are to be planted replacing seedlings which have not flourished. These measures are taken to offer ideal conditions for the development of the seedlings, as well as to promote their establishment. A successful reforestation programme depends on efficient management and its periodicity. In general, maintenance should take place every 90 or 120 days, counted from the planting day or period. On a long-term period, maintenance contributes for the reestablishment of ecological services.

Field team during monitoring programme (©Aline Damasceno).

 

Ecosystem services provided by a restored area can improve local and regional microclimate, water regulation, stability of slopes, increased quality and quantity of water resources and the reestablishment of biodiversity through the connection of forest fragments.

To verify whether the new forest is developing well and fulfilling its ecological role, it is necessary to monitor and evaluate its growth. We have two monitoring steps: the first one, which follows INEA (Environmental State Agency in Rio de Janeiro) Resolution No. 143 from 2017, that checks the quality of restored areas; and the second one, which evaluates the accumulated biomass and carbon stock in restored areas by ‘Guapiaçu Project’ Petrobras funded project.

Rapid Ecological Diagnosis – DER being applied on restored areas (© Aline Damasceno).

The first stage of monitoring happens annually after the tree planting has taken place. The main purpose is to fulfil commitments and legal obligations following INEA`s resolution. At this stage, the methodology chosen is the Rapid Ecological Diagnosis – DER. The procedure to monitor the restored area’s development is based on the direct measurement of seven ecological parameters, which are: density of the planted area, percentage of zoochoric species, height of plants, equitability of individuals, species richness, canopy and grass cover. While measuring these parameters, the spontaneous arrival of new individuals of plants on the restored area can be verified, some older trees are expected to be flowering or fruiting (especially the pioneer species) and also animals on site should be able to be noticed, such as insects, birds, rodents and small mammals.

Diameter at breast height (DBH) used as a parameter in the application of allometric equations (© Aline Damasceno).

The second monitoring stage is carried out when four years have passed by. The first 100 ha tree planting that took place in the first stage of the Guapiaçu Project between the years of 2013 and 2015 received carbon certification by the Biodiversity Community Climate Alliance (ACCB). This certification provided a quality seal to these reforested areas. Tree planting carried out in the subsequent phases of this project (more 160 hectares) were incorporated into the biomass accumulation monitoring plan, according to the methodology and assumptions certified with the ACCB, and will be able to receive certification after completing four years since implementation.

Biomass monitoring takes place from the fourth year on because it requires the saplings to have their DBH (Diameter at breast height) more developed so that one can use it as a parameter in the application of allometric equations. These equations are used for the analysis of biomass and carbon stock in the plantations, as well as to obtain the values of CO2 sequestered by the new forest. With that, REGUA took the commitment to monitor the biomass accumulation in these plots over the next 30 years. Over this 30 year span, more than 13,500 tons of carbon are expected to be stored and 49,680 tonnes of CO2 equivalent to be removed from the atmosphere.

 

Help to raise funds for REGUA with AmazonSmile

If you shop with Amazon, you can help to support REGUA.

Just register the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest Trust as your “AmazonSmile Charity”.    The AmazonSmile Foundation will then give 0.5% of all your eligible purchases to the charity which is supporting the protection and preservation of the Atlantic Rainforest in South-east Brazil and has given over £2.5 million to REGUA in the last 20 years.

Follow the link: smile.amazon.co.uk/ch/1079038-0

Once you have registered the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest Trust as the charity you wish to support, as long as you log into your AmazonSmile account your purchases will generate vital funds which will help to continue our work.

If you prefer to make a donation directly please click on the donate button at the bottom of this page.

Please spread the word!

 

 

Tapir Eva’s offspring is a male tapir.

This was the last photograph of Eva and her offspring shortly before the accident (© Refauna).

We have had a very sad news recently, the tapir Eva was hit on a dirt road by a motorcyclist, and days later was found dead. Luckily the motorcyclist was not seriously injured. Eva’s eight-month-year-old male offspring has not been hit. We’re setting up reinforced feeding points where Eva often used to visit with her baby, so we’re going to monitor him very closely.
Accidents involving wild animals are a major problem worldwide, it is estimated that 475 million wild animals are run over each year on Brazilian roads. In the case of large animals such as tapirs, these accidents can cause serious trouble. Respecting speed limits and driving carefully on roads near natural areas are ways to avoid these types of accident. Refauna together with Guapiacu III Petrobras funded project and REGUA are providing, with the support of the municipality of Cachoeiras de Macacu, speed reducers and signs for the road near REGUA, to reduce the chance of more accidents.

The eight-month-year-old male tapir (© Refauna).

Eva was the first female tapir to be reintroduced at REGUA. She lived in the wild for almost three years and left two cubs. When she arrived at REGUA, she was very shy and didn’t come too close to people, but after being released, in few months, she didn’t approach anyone any longer, behaving like a wild tapir. She established her territory between REGUA and other rural properties and could be spotted walking with the other reintroduced tapir Valente, the baby tapir’s father. She fully adapted to the wild, as if she had never lived in captivity. We have learnt a lot from the tapir Eva and we are very saddened with her death. It comforts us to know that she had the chance to live a happy life in the wild and that Eva’s reintroduction helped us to gain experience for the reintroduction of other tapirs into the wild. Let’s hope her baby tapir lives a long life in REGUA’s territory.

Tapirs are known for being good swimmers and they can often be seen near the wetlands (© Toca Seabra).