Marisa Glassman is GlobalGiving's Business Development Manager. She recently traveled throughout Brazil and visited a number of GlobalGiving projects. On May 4th she visited "Trees and Education Protect Rainforest in Brazil." When asked what she would tell her friends about this project, Marisa said: "Great: They are making a difference."
"With just a short time in as large a country as Brazil, I was afraid I wouldn´t be able to see enough of the country. And while I´ll almost certainly never be able to see as much as I´d like to, today´s visit to Roberto Lamego´s forest in Valença gave me a welcome complement to all of the city-based work I´ve seen. Now I can leave Brazil happy. While finding a way to get there was tricky to say the least, I can´t imagine this trip being complete had I not been able to go. The forest I visited was a two-hour drive outside of Rio de Janeiro city, where most of the land is now rolling hills where vast forests once stood. When man cleared the land to plant coffee trees and other produce, the forests were decimated. And although the crops thrived for a short time, they eventually disappeared because the land could not maintain them without the cover and moisture the forest had provided. Left with almost nothing, most local residents turned to other uses for their land, such as cow farming. With many animals throughout the area, the forests have not been able to grow back.
"On a plot of this land, Roberto Lamego´s family had a farm. The land was eventually abandoned while Roberto was living abroad, but he decided to return to Brazil to try and salvage it. Since 1993, Roberto has planted hundreds of thousands of trees and other crops on his family´s land, and his forest now thrives among the surrounding barren hills. With proper care and attention, he and his dedicated staff, who live on the forest grounds Monday through Friday, have grown a forest which not only houses tall trees such as palm trees, which will no longer grow on their own in most of the surrounding area, but also houses crops such as passion fruit, mangoes, limes, coffee, and various other fruits I wish I could spell in English - some of which I tasted right off the trees.
"Once or twice every month, Roberto brings a school bus full of local children to the forest to learn about the landscape and work he and his coworkers have done. He realizes the community´s immediate need for income, and thus conveys the message that, not only does his forest help preserve the land, but provides a sustainable way to produce crops for many years by giving them the environment they need to thrive. It is often an uphill battle against a government that does not share his goals and local community members whose immediate financial needs make it difficult to maintain the long-term outlook necessary to follow Roberto´s methodology. But Roberto´s will and conviction make his efforts less of a choice than a natural path. I am so thankful I was able to visit the forest with a diverse group of local students who were also visiting for the first time. Their enthusiasm and curiosity were wonderful to see, and although the language barrier between us didn´t allow us to communicate fully, we did manage to find the one thing that saved us all from some unnecessary itching: the citronella plant Roberto showed us, which luckily is the same word in English and Portuguese."
Dear donors and project friends, once again thank you for your support and donations that makes all this possible.
As we are about to finish our year plantation operations we want to share with you what we are do with our forests and the donated seedlings. Since 1995, SALVEASERRA recovers forests with agroforestry plantations methods in an effort to attract and convince economically land owners and cattle ranchers to protect the environment with the use of these ecological and economical possibilities that brings profits to them and avoids deforestation. As farmers have very little information about these agricultural techniques and procedures, our pilot demonstration areas are used in courses and field training programs to show students and land owners that it is possible to preserve the forest, protect biodiversity and obtain income doing things like we do. We add value to the forest with our planting methods.
All the work starts at the tree nursery and our nursery produces low cost seedlings and costs very little to maintain since it was built under the forest shade and with local materials. We have produced countless seedlings since we started planting and when we buy seedlings they are brought here until definitive planting. From the nursery the seedlings are taken to a place near the plantation areas and then separated by species before planting. Each tree species is planted in its best appropriate ecosystem condition. In our plantations, trees, palm trees and fruit trees are planted in squares that have 3 or 4 meters sides and a great quantity of new plants can be introduced in a small area. This year we opened three new areas for different agroforestry system planting plots. In two of them timber trees were mainly planted and the other one was directed to fruit trees. Remember that when you plant agroforestry systems you never stop planting and there is always room to plant something else in the same area. All plants must have an economical and ecological interest to be there and because these areas are ecologically balanced areas there are no pest attacks and ants are a rarely problem.
But maybe this is the easy part of the act of planting trees as people always forget that if we want these baby trees to become mature trees they have to be inspected and cared for at least 2 times a year and during 4 years. If you don't do this, there is an enormous chance that these very fragile seedlings will die, be it by drought, by fire, eaten by ants, crushed by branches or tree trunks, swallowed by lust vegetation or stepped up by cows. What I want to say is and it is absolutely necessary to have this always in mind, is that for at least 4 years, it is not possible to abandon these young trees after they are planted otherwise many plants will not survive and this international effort in resources and manpower to aid the environment will be useless and meaningless. I am very much concerned with this plant abandon situation because I have witnessed this happen many times here in Brazil and I would not like to see this happen with GlobalGiving Green so dearly donated trees.
Donor must consider that in many situations one dollar one tree is not enough to make this sapling become a big, mature and reproductive tree.
I am writing this update in the middle of GlobalGiving's fundraising campaign, “Give a Little Green" and you can be sure that if you want to contribute, every extra dollar our project can obtain from this campaign will become a nice tree, timber, palm tree or fruit tree.
Who knows if some time donors will be able to visit the planting areas and plant a few trees with their hands?
Thank you all very much and all the best,
Dear donors and project friends, first of all I want to thank all donors for the donations that makes this project "Trees and Education Protect Rainforest in Brazil" possible. As you know, our objectives are to teach and educate farmers, students, local citizens and communities to preserve and restore the Atlantic Rainforest in Brazil, with the use of sustainable forest farming methods. With this we hope they will adopt new attitudes and practices towards the environment and nature.
Walk in Nature. Every year the Serra da Concordia Wildlife Sanctuary is opened to the community for a non-competitive walking event called “Walk in the Nature” that is sponsored by SALVEASERRA, our NGO and ANDABRASIL, the Brazilian local representative of IML Walking Association, a non-political, non-profit organization whose purpose is to promote walking as a worthwhile and healthy ecological recreation, and to foster understanding and goodwill by encouraging participation at walking events in countries through a program of incentive awards. This is accomplished by promoting national and local one day non-competitive walking events. This is the fourth time the 12 kilometers Serra da Concordia Circuit takes place and we had 128 walkers this time. It takes about 2 hours to arrive to our base. To enrich the day, a lecture about the importance of the preservation of the forests and its importance and relation with the water, was once more empathized to our visitors. Please see attached photos.
Ongoing projects: we are about to reopen this year school groups visiting program to the Concordia Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary where students follow the environmental education course called “A Day in the Forest” and the new SALVEASERRA CARAVAN project is starting with its mission of taking the information, self-consciousness and knowledge we want to spread directly were it is needed in the fields, upcountry to farmers, families and communities. More news soon. Please also see at: http://www.globalgiving.com/pr/2300/proj2239a.html, for more information of the Vegetable Gardens donation program.
Thank you all for your support and donations.
Project report - February, 2009
Dear donors and project friends,
first of all I want to thank all generous donors that made "Trees and Education Protect Rainforest in Brazil" project to be classified among the top 5 in bringing in donations as shows a GlobalGiving January made study. Thank you for your confidence in our work and in 2009 we will have more. As you know our objectives are teaching and educating farmers, students, local citizens and communities to preserve and restore the Atlantic Rainforest in Brazil with the use of sustainable forest farming methods and adopting new attitudes towards the environment. We show them ways to protect and recover the landscape, the water and the wildlife, searching means to enhance rural earnings.
This year we have already planted part of this season trees, fruit trees and palm trees, we are still going to plant more and we expect to plant 3.000. Many seedlings were from our local production and we bought more with resources from SALVEASERRA/GlobalGiving Fund and a GlobalGiving Green donor.
This year school groups will continue to visit the Concordia Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary to follow our environmental education program “A Day in the Forest” in a mountain environment, seeing its biodiversity and noticing the importance of the water sources. They will also visit the agroforestry plantations at the Agroforestry Educational Center. These visits will take place two or three times per month and are sponsored by the SALVEASERRA/GLOBALGIVING Fund cover all the costs. Please see attached pictures of the last group that came to our mountain in December 2008.
This year we are starting a new phase of our project with the creation of the SALVEASERRA CARAVAN, that will be a way to take the knowledge we want to spread directly were it is needed in the fields, upcountry to farmers, families and communities. The SALVEASERRA CARAVAN will transport knowledge and new ideas, bring back wisdom, experiences and students to our home base and will settle "Small Family Oasis" along the way. A "Small Family Oasis" is a place where families with water for irrigation can live all year round, planting their food, producing goods for the market, with permanent jobs and occupation. You will hear more from this project soon. This new project will also be sponsored by the SALVEASERRA/GlobalGiving Fund, where all the donations go.
Thank you all for your support and donations that make all this possible.
Dear donors and project friends,
"Trees and Education Protect Rainforest in Brazil" project continues steadily its course developing the objectives of teaching and educating farmers, students, local citizens and communities to preserve and restore the Atlantic Rainforest in Brazil with the use of sustainable forest farming methods and adopting new attitudes towards the environment. We show them ways to protect and recover the landscape, the water and the wildlife, always searching means to enhance rural earnings.
At the Wildlife Sanctuary it is time for the 2008/9 season to plant trees, fruit trees and palm trees and we are going to plant more than 2.000 seedlings this year. Besides our local production of seedlings, we are buying with resources from the SALVEASERRA/GLOBALGIVING Fund, $1000 of seedlings from different and rare tree species from a nearby tree nursery. We are at present finishing the fertilizing of the organic coffee plantation of the Shaded Coffee Tree Corridor project.
School groups continue to visit the Concordia Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary to learn about the mountain environment, its biodiversity and importance for water production. They also visit the agroforestry plantation plots at the CETAR, our Agroforestry Education Center. For most, it is the first time they visit a forest and see a water source. This week another group of more than 30 students and teachers from a local Municipal School came to visit us and attend the environment education program called “A Day in the Forest”. These visits normally take place two or three times per month and are sponsored by the SALVEASERRA/GLOBALGIVING Fund that invites them and rents the bus for this trip. Please see attached photos.
Thank you all for your support and donations that make all this possible.
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Rio de Janeiro,
Rio de Janeiro