New Grants for Atlantic Forest Landowners

March 2003

Small grants are now available from the Alliance for the Conservation of the Atlantic Forest to assist landowners in sustainably managing existing private reserves and creating new ones in the Atlantic Forest hotspot. The alliance, which includes Conservation International-Brasil and SOS Mata Atlântica, is a leading force in the hotspot's conservation.

The new grants program—Program for the Support of Private Natural Heritage Reserves (RPPNs) in the Atlantic Forest—is supported by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) as a key part of the Fund's approach to expand and coordinate its portfolio from the ground up in the Atlantic Forest and other hotspots. The approach centers on engaging locally based coordinators in diverse ways tailored to the specific region.

"We are certain that private owners of areas where we find Atlantic Forest remnants could contribute significantly to biodiversity conservation and management," says Maria Cecilia Wey de Brito, coordinator for the alliance and the new program.

"Many landowners have already established RPPNs but need small technical or financial support to effectively manage these areas. We aim to help them."

RPPNs are one of the official management categories of natural protected areas under Brazilian legislation that defined the country's system of natural protected areas in 2000.

In Brazil, more than 500 private reserves cover some 400,000 hectares. In the Atlantic Forest hotspot, which stretches across Brazil and into Paraguay, private reserves shelter more than 70,000 hectares of high biodiversity.

The alliance's new five-year program will provide grants to help ensure the sustainability of the existing reserves and to create new ones in the Central and Serra do Mar conservation corridors in Brazil, which are focal areas for CEPF investment.

In a special event in February, the alliance publicly announced the first availability of grants for existing reserves. The deadline for these applications is April 15.

Visit the Alliance Web site for more information about the program.