Atlantic rainforest in Brazil. Credit: Maria Ogrzewalska

By Melanie Friedel, American Forests

This is part of an 11-blog series on our work with Alcoa Foundation. Learn more here!

The Atlantic Forest is a magical Brazilian sanctuary, home to more than 20,000 plant species and some 2,200 animal species, many of them found nowhere else. We’re here to keep that magic alive!

American Forests and Alcoa Foundation are joining forces with Associação Corredor Ecológico do Vale do Paraíba (ACEVP) in São Paulo, Brazil to plant 4,690 trees over nearly 7 acres this October. American Forests and Alcoa Foundation have been partners in planting for 7 years, with a new 3-year partnership just announced in April. Our shared goal is to engage local communities and restore forest ecosystems in order to enhance biodiversity and combat climate change in key areas across the globe.

This goal falls perfectly in line with the mission of ACEVP. The organization was founded in 2007 to establish ecological corridors in the Paraíba do Sul River valley by recovering, connecting and conserving forest fragments between the Serra da Mantiqueira and Serra do Mar ranges, while actively engaging organizations and communities. The ACEVP team has been working to plant trees for years and is continuing those efforts now in collaboration with us.

As part of our Global ReLeaf program, through which we’ve planted more than 10 million trees in nearly 50 countries, we are diving into this project with the goal of replenishing the vital Atlantic Forest and saving the endemic species that depend on it. The forest was considered a biosphere reserve and World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1999, but now only 10 percent of the original tree and plant cover remains.

Our joint efforts, along with support from ACEVP’s other partners — city governments of São José dos Campos and Monteiro Lobato, ICMBio and the São Paulo State Environment Department — will strategically plant 4,690 native trees, including 80 different species, in specifically curated locations to simultaneously restore forest functions and support private landowners. We will employ advanced agroforestry techniques to promote local stewardship of the ecosystem while avoiding economic displacement — of humans or wildlife.