The region is home to remnants of the Mixed Rainforest, one of the ecosystems associated with the Atlantic Forest, and Araucária is its most emblematic representative. The Araucária Forest, at one point,covered about 40% of the territories of Paraná, 30% of Santa Catarina, and 25% of Rio Grande do Sulstates, in addition to almost 3% of São Paulo and 1% of Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais states.
Today, following centuries of unrestrained timber extraction and misguided political decisions, the forest only has an unbelievable 3% of its original area, with only 0.7% considered to be conserved according to the Ministry of the Environment (MMA).
TNC has been working in the Araucaria Forest since 2004 with a successful track record in conservation initiatives in the Turvo region, led by the Bernardo Hakvoort Agroforest Institute – IAF and TNC. Over the past few years, that paved the way for the inclusion of a new model of forest restoration focused on sustainable economic production, with a high degree of replicability.
The Sustenta a Mata project is one of the efforts successfully carried out in the region and started in mid-2012 with the support from the National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES). Itemerged as an alternative to complement and ensure the sustainability of conservation actions already in progress, with the restoration of permanent preservation areas (APPs) in rural properties and their enrichment with native species of economic interest, such as yerba mate, araucaria, and bracatinga. There was a particular focus on non-timber forest products, and TNC prospected 50 hectares distributed amongthe land of approximately 30 IAF-engaged rural landowners. Participants received technical assistance in restoration, from the preparation of the area, through planting, and the initial management of the restoration area enriched with seedlings of native species, in addition to fences and inputs for planting.
In addition to these areas in Paraná, the project covered the states of São Paulo and Santa Catarina. There are another 20 hectares in the EMBRAPA/EPAGRI forest reserve in Caçador, in Santa Catarina, in partnership with EMBRAPA Florestas. Additionally, there are 60 hectares in the conservation units in the Jacupiranga Mosaic in southern São Paulo in partnership with the Foundation for Conservation and Forestry Production of the State of São Paulo (Florestal Foundation).
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