The Atlantic Forest provides enormous benefits to Brazil and the world, but less than 12% of its original extent remains. Conservation and restoration are urgent, but need careful planning to achieve results.
The ecosystem services provided by the Atlantic Forest include drinking water for 60% of the Brazilian population and about two billion tons of carbon dioxide sequestered by 2050. The Atlantic Forest originally covered a huge area but only 11.7% is left. Remaining forest fragments are embedded in a mosaic of secondary forest, plantations, pastures and agriculture. These fragments face increasing pressure from urbanization, agricultural expansion and over-exploitation, as well as long-term impacts of climate change. Meanwhile, forest policy changes in Brazil could potentially trigger increased deforestation.
To ensure a sustainable future, we need to determine how to allocate resources to maximise benefits. So we aim to identify and map opportunities and constraints for conservation. We investigate how biodiversity and ecosystem services are affected by the amount, quality, and layout of the remaining forest and human activities in the forest, and describe how they occur at different spatial scales, to identify priority areas for conservation, restoration and management. We investigate landowners’ attitudes to ecosystem services, their conservation values and attitudes to the new forest legislation. We aim to predict how new legislation will impact biodiversity and ecosystem services, and the likely impacts of climate change.
Volunteers play a vital role by helping us assess the richness, abundance, and density of bird biodiversity.