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Climate Change
Conservation Carbon: Atlantic Forest, Brazil

Brazil's Atlantic Forest, extending along the country's eastern coast, is one of the most biologically rich, and threatened, ecosystems in the world. Once a continuous stretch of tropical and subtropical rainforest, the Atlantic Forest today exists solely in isolated patches, with only about seven percent of the original forest cover remaining. The woolly spider monkey and the golden-headed lion tamarin are among the endangered primates indigenous to the region.

For years, logging and slash-and-burn agricultural practices have caused not just deforestation, but also emissions of greenhouse gases, contributing to global warming and further threatening the Atlantic Forest. From 1945 to 1990, more than two million hectares of forest were removed by commercial logging operations and land clearing for agriculture. More recently, with the economic crash of Bahia's most important crop, cocoa, landowners have turned to non-sustainable land uses, including raising cattle and "sun coffee."

To help protect biodiversity and mitigate the effects of climate change in the Atlantic Forest, Conservation International and its partners, the Socio-Environmental Research Institute of Southern Bahia (IESB), The Nature Conservancy of Brazil and Instituto BioAltântica, are working to identify 11,200 hectares for restoration and protection.

Value for Biodiversity
Restoration of the Atlantic Forest will connect some of the last remaining forest remnants in the region, ensuring that there is sufficient land to allow the ecosystem to thrive. Without these efforts, the fragmented patches of forest could become biological islands, unable to support the complex network of species inhabiting the region. Restoring and protecting the Atlantic Forest also contributes to stabilizing global climate change, thereby further protecting habitats and threatened species.

Value for the Community
The reforestation and conservation efforts will result in planting and forest management jobs for local people over the lifetime of the project. Similarly, farmers will receive technical assistance in rotational agriculture, which will reduce land destruction while simultaneously creating higher long-term product yields.


© CI, William R. Konstant
Golden-headed lion tamarin.

• Restore and protect 11,200 hectares in Brazil's Atlantic Forest
• Store 3.5 million tons of carbon dioxide over 30 years
• Preserve the habitat for threatened species such as the wooly spider monkey and the golden-headed lion Tamarin

Project Fact Sheet (pdf, 453kb)
Brazil Biodiversity (pdf, 110kb)

• Atlantic Forest Hotspot

 Photo credits for banner image: (Clouds) © CI