Replanting a Rainforest began in earnest three weeks ago on October 20th, after having received a generous donation from WeForest.com. And things started happening in a big way.
Almost immediately a group representing our local partners, Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza (FAF) and the local NGO Grupo Ecológico Olho D’Agua, and neighbors with lands bordering on FAF, went to inspect and study more closely some of the areas which had been defined to be a part of the total project of almost 300 hectares; the so-called different “Reserva Legal” (RL) and “Áreas de Preservação Permanente” (APP). These last, the “APP”, are the areas surrounding natural water springs and waterways; streams, rivers, and lakes. There are more than 47 natural water springs and eight lakes, made mostly of dammed streams, on the FAF property of 850 hectares. It has always been our intention to prioritize the protection and regeneration of the APP’s, like the three natural springs in FAF Lot 1. We now discovered, however, a considerably more degraded area just south of this, what we are calling FAF Lot 2, consisting of 8,12 hectares of land historically used as a chicken farm (going back a few generations) and now overgrown with the so-called “elephant grass” known locally as “capim”, a favourite for grazing cattle. Being great for cattle, it’s disastrous if you want to grow trees, since it grows as tall as an elephant in one rainy season (beginning in October each year), smothering any seedlings you may have planted.
What we discovered on FAF Lot 2 was that there are 4 natural springs (previously only 2), and that this is the source of the “Corrego da Agua Limpa” which downstream becomes the “Rio Agua Limpa” or Clear Water River! At least one of the springs is totally dried up, but another, after digging a few inches into the ground became soaked with water!
We are now studying this in more detail but it’s clear (clear water clear!) that we will begin Replanting a Rainforest with trees to protect and regenerate the natural water springs. This is what Felipe Croce wrote:
“This plot has one spring in the middle of the area we are planting which has dried up but when we dug a few inches into the ground we found water. Actually this was all recorded in the filming with Renato! There are two or three more spings further down the hill a little which is not in the area we are planting (because the land was too steep to clear).” Further, he continues: “As far as the area: It was recently purchased by FAF and used to belong to Morro Azul. It used to be called Granja which was because there was a big chicken coop there. Then it became all coffee and overtime the springs dried up. There are people who live on the farms who can tell stories of how the area used to be and can tell stories of the river. When Renato (Kerr, Filmmaker, editors remark) was here we thought about tracing the river down a bit and interviewing people from the different farms and communities whose live are affected by the river. This area is also particularly interesting because it will be an essential link in connecting forest reserves between 7 or more farms! This will create a large habitat for wildlife that is hard to find today in the state of São Paulo. We are excited to have you come down and start planting!”
The clearing has started, and species are being identified which will help the capillary activity of raising the water table and regenerating the springs. The added bonus of this becoming a “corridor” for wildlife, and joining the efforts of 7 neighboring farms is a great way to get our project started!
More studies will be undertaken, and many decisions need to be made over the next few weeks, in the meantime we will continue to clear about three hectares of land and prepare it for planting, which we plan to begin within two weeks. I am flying to Brazil tomorrow and after a meeting on Monday with “SOS Mata Atlântica” (NGO) Director Mario Mantovani will proceed to the farm, located 330 km. from the São Paulo city, at 950 meters above sea level.
Exciting weeks ahead, I look forward to posting regular updates, and if anybody should be in the area, come and join us!
I would also like to get a discussion going if there are questions on “Replanting a Rainforest”, or if anyone would like to contribute with knowledge or other resources.