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Forests4Water Brazil: Community forest restoration

by Iracambi
Forests4Water Brazil: Community forest restoration
Forests4Water Brazil: Community forest restoration
Forests4Water Brazil: Community forest restoration
Forests4Water Brazil: Community forest restoration
Forests4Water Brazil: Community forest restoration
Forests4Water Brazil: Community forest restoration
Forests4Water Brazil: Community forest restoration
Forests4Water Brazil: Community forest restoration
Forests4Water Brazil: Community forest restoration
Forests4Water Brazil: Community forest restoration
Forests4Water Brazil: Community forest restoration
Forests4Water Brazil: Community forest restoration
Forests4Water Brazil: Community forest restoration
Forests4Water Brazil: Community forest restoration
Forests4Water Brazil: Community forest restoration
Forests4Water Brazil: Community forest restoration
Forests4Water Brazil: Community forest restoration
Forests4Water Brazil: Community forest restoration
Forests4Water Brazil: Community forest restoration
Forests4Water Brazil: Community forest restoration
one tree at a time!
one tree at a time!

Greetings to you all from the rainforest! 

I bet you want to know what’s happening in the forest, now that the rains are here? 

Let’s start with results of the monitoring of the 2018 planting – survival rates of the trees are around nearly 70%. Survival rates vary a lot between different farmers -  in some cases nearly 100%, in others considerably less. When we analyzed these results, we came to the conclusion that the greater part of losses was due to lack of maintenance. Not weeding around the seedlings, attacks from leaf-cutting ants, cattle breaking down the fences in the dry season, and so on. 

This is a huge challenge! We know that a farmer’s life is tough and it’s hard for them to take time out from planting, fertilizing and harvesting their crops and devote time to their reforestry areas – where they don’t anticipate any financial return.  

But the good news is that it’s raining hard here – in contrast to the water crisis that we had in 2014 and 2016. 

Of course people have very short memories, and forget that during the water crisis they had no water for drinking, cooking and bathing, and they lost a lot of their crops - so we’re working hard to help them understand the simple equation: without trees there is no water, and without water there is no life. 

It’s more than simply a question of springs drying up, it’s also a question of agroforestry. We’re already doing that by interplanting fruit trees with our native trees, encouraging the farmers to take better care of their reforestry plots, so that they can harvest the fruits for themselves (as well as the birds!)   

Agroforestry clearly shows that it’s possible to grow food crops in the forest: shade coffee has the advantage of attracting birds and pollinators, helping fix nitrogen in the soil and even producing natural fertilizers.  As you know, agroforestry uses organic and natural pesticides, herbicides – but hat conerns us is that we’ve even seen farmers using glyphosate (Roundup) around their springs. 

BEWARE! 

Do they have any idea what they are doing? Or what the consequences will be? Things are much more serious than we thought. These chemicals are banned in many countries.   

Glyphosate controls weeds and it saves farmers a lot of time, so they love it. What they don’t know is that studies show that it can affect food, soils and water, can affect human health and has been linked to cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart problems, infertility, gluten intolerance and more. 

So, in addition to reforesting with 50 different species (we want to increase biodiversity!) and in addition to planting new forests and restoring springs, we’re also bringing as much information as we can to the farm families who don’t have access to facts like these. 

Now – are you keen to hear about this year’s planting? 

Come with us, let’s roll up our sleeves and get muddy! 

This year our financing comes from YOU, our wonderful supporters who have been with us since 2015.  And we’re also working with a company in Hong Kong, which is very exciting! So we’re extremely grateful to our donors and cannot begin to express how happy we are that you are by our sides doing this amazing work.  We hope that some of you may be able to see it for yourselves one day!

Remember I told you we had a reasonable rate of survival and, in the areas that weren’t well cared for, we’re returning to help out, explaining more about maintenance, about the importance of water, and other environmental questions. 

We have a great team working with us, Mateus, Hercules, Deivid the nursery manager, Mauricio, Derli, Fagner (our former nursery manage – remember him?) And these guys have cleared, weeded, dug the holes and fertilized the soil.

And now we come to the exciting part: delivering the seedlings and planting!

It’s been raining like crazy so we’re planting in the rain. After delivering the seedlings we’re adding more fertilizer (cow manure) and getting our hands dirty. Literally! 

We look forward to telling you more about the planting, about what we’re learning, about the wildlife we’ve seen, about the farmer’s stories, but all this will have to wait for the next report. STAY TUNED!  

But, before we go, we have another novelty to tell you. We’ve made some changes in the nursery. We’ve enlarged the composting area, we’ve made a roof over it so it won’t get wet and we won’t have to use tarpaulins. We’ve also fixed up the fence – sometimes dogs have been getting in and trampling the seed beds which drives our nursery manager to distraction! 

The seedlings are more than 50 cm tall, and very well developed and strong. Deivid has sprayed them with the organic fertilizer we talked about in our last report. We’re also moving the seedlings from the tables onto the ground so that can harden off before being planted out. We’re watering them less, since once they’re planted they’ll rely on the rain for watering! This technique has been very successful for producing really healthy seedlings.

So, as you can see, there’s a lot going on and we’re not stopping here. If it wasn’t for you, this project wouldn’t exist. So we’d love to ask for your help once again.

Giving Tuesday  (December 3rd) brings people together to give something back. Every little gesture helps to change the world. It’s a call to action to encourage people to give!  Time, energy, cash, whatever you can! 

So please join us in saving more forests and changing more lives

December 3 is the biggest day of the year in terms of solidarity. Please mobilize your family, colleagues and friends to join us! Share, donate, spread the word. If everyone does their bit, we can do MUCH more together! 

In twenty years with lots of hard work and lots of help from friends and supporters here’s what we’ve done: 

  • 1200 acres of forests protected forever.
  • 12,500 acres of Environmental Protection Areas
  • 130,000 native forest trees planted 
  • 650 farm families through our programs  
  • 2000 students, researchers and volunteers welcomed from 65 countries 
  • 150,000 people impacted in the nine counties of the Serra do Brigadeiro 

Between us, with few resources, we’ve done a LOT! And there’s a lot more to do. There’s still the question of bauxite mining in the area, threatening the livelihoods of dozens of farm families and the water supply of thousands of people downriver. 

Please join us and be a part of this great family of people who fight every day to save more forests and change more lives.  May we count on you? . 

A great big thank you from all of us for what you’ve done, what you do, and what we hope you’ll continue to do! 

And hugs from the Forests 4 Water team – muddy but happy!

digging holes
digging holes
environmental education in action
environmental education in action
preparing the ground
preparing the ground
project leader Arielle
project leader Arielle

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Dear Rainforest Guardians,

Have you ever seen the sky darken, and DAY become NIGHT?

I bet you are wondering, HOW is this even possible?

Well unfortunately it is, and it’s happening right now in Brazil.

Right now, all eyes are on Brazil and the largest rainforest and biodiversity reserve on Earth. The reason could not be worse: the Amazon is on fire.

The biome is experiencing the largest surge of wildfires in Brazil in 7 years. There is nothing new in the phenomenon itself, the Amazon has always suffered from wildfires associated with land clearing. But how did it get so out of control?

According to data from INPE (National Institute for Space Research), the number of forest fires increased by 83% between January and August 2019 compared to the same period of 2018.

In the dry season, forest is fuel. At this time of year (July to September), a large number of fire outbreaks are detected from space by INPE.

Scientific studies show that the burning of this region usually results from the type of land use. It has become common practice to slash and burn vegetation to prepare the land for planting.

The events of 2019 have come as a surprise to specialists as the dry season is not as severe as in previous years, nor have extreme weather events such as El Niño warranted a considerable increase in fire outbreaks. In addition, the dry season is usually at its peak in September. In other words, mankind has contributed heavily to the devastation this year.

In addition, the smoke from the wildfires is causing a ‘kettle-effect’ and surrounding populations are suffering from the aftermath of the outbreaks of fire in the south of the state and the metropolitan region.

With these worrying developments, we need your support more than ever! We are becoming increasingly concerned and fearful about the next actions of the Brazilian government.

One thing is certain, we must never give up, we have to unite and act. We can't just stand by and watch!!!

We need everyone to do their part, because TOGETHER we are stronger!!!

And now, some positive news of the good deeds being done to protect our environment…

This quarter we continued to monitor the trees planted in 2018, and we have more information to share!

Excited?

We have observed that a lot of seedlings are doing well, such as the Red Angico, a fast-growing, leguminous native tree that has medicinal properties. Another species doing well is Embaúba, a pioneer tree that is fast growing, attracts many birds, monkeys and bats and serves as a habitat for ants.

We always conduct an analysis of the area to be planted so we can plan the best species to plant and improve their survival rate.

Usually in pastures, we opt for pioneer species (fast growing, organic matter, etc.) to form a forest base. This prepares the area for primary and secondary species which are more demanding in terms of organic matter, fertile soil, water, shade, etc.

We also plant in places where there is natural regeneration, and / or forest fragments. However, care must be taken to ensure that the environmental conditions are adequate for the seedlings.

In recent months we have been monitoring with the help of 2 volunteers: Sien, from the Netherlands and Francesco from Italy, who are conducting research on our reforestation efforts, we are looking forward to seeing the results and sharing them with you!

We have found that some seedlings were varying greatly from producer to producer in terms of development, nutrition, growth and mortality. To address this, we donated R$100 to each producer so they can pay a third party to help with the maintenance of the seedlings.

We are currently using our findings to help us choose species and plan visits for the 2019 planting. We are now at the end of August and the wet season will soon be upon us.

In other good news, thanks to your support the nursery has been able to make some much needed improvements! The composting area has been transformed this past month, take a look at how it is doing! It is now bigger and has more partitions to allow more room for mixing and application of Effective Microorganisms (EM), the biofertilizer we talked about in the last report. We have also repaired the fence around the nursery to keep our seedlings safe and secure.

That’s it for now dear supporters, we are looking forward to the rains and to updating you soon!

With love, thanks and rainforest hugs,

Arielle, Deivid, Produtores & Mother Earth

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This is the seed of Urucum!
This is the seed of Urucum!

Dear Rainforest Guardians,

After the the record planting season in 2018, where we planted 6,000 seedlings we have now moved on to the next step, Monitoring!

Do you want to know how we are getting on?

Here in the Atlantic Rainforest it has rained more than usual, which has made our seedlings jump for joy!

We are currently visiting the properties in the community where we planted, recording information, such as: mortality, ant attacks, if the plants are being cared for (if not, why), if they require more organic fertilizer, need replanting, development, which species are developing or dying etc. Identifying and addressing any problems to give the seedlings the best chance of success!

We are only at the beginning of monitoring, so there is still a lot of data to collect and analyze. That said, we have already begun to identify some trends.

Of 5 properties we visited there are already some species that stand out such as: Guapuruvu and Adrago, which are seedlings that have adapted really well! (Look at the size of them! This Adrago, was planted in January and is bigger than me!)

You can also keep up with the planting progress via our map: Mapa ArcGIS

It has been so satisfying to visit the properties and see the growth of the seedlings, and witness the beginnings of new forest growth! We cannot begin to express the gratitude that we (the community, volunteers,the Atlantic Rainforest, fauna, flora) feel in being able to make a positive difference to the life of an individual, a family, a spring, a water course, to nature. All this has only been possible thanks to YOU, doing your part, believing in our work and contributing to our cause.

I cannot stress enough how much YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

I wish each and every one of you could visit us and see EVERYTHING that you have helped us achieve. Who knows, maybe you would like to come and give us a hand to plant the next round in Mid-October / November 2019?!

In addition to the good news that the seedlings are doing incredibly well, we have already started planning for this year’s planting.

We are at full force and feeling very inspired in 2019!

The nursery has recently had all its planting tables renovated, and Deivid, our main man in the nursery, has been working hard collecting and germinating many different kinds of seeds! (Let's see if you can guess the trees of the following seeds and seedlings!)

Incredibly, we already have 6,000-7,000 seedlings developing in the nursery for planting later this year!

We recently produced E.M (Efficient microorganisms) which are tiny bacterias and fungi that live naturally in fertile soils and in plants. They can be used in agriculture and animal husbandry and are extremely cost effective and easy to produce. There are several advantages in applying them, such as:

  • Increasing crop production;
  • Controlling spontaneous plants, diseases and pests;
  • Improving soil structure and quality;
  • Reducing the need to apply other fertilizers;
  • Working in conjunction with green fertilizers to aid in decompacting soil, increasing porosity and water infiltration;
  • They can be mixed with other organic fertilizers such as biofertilizers, compost and humus;
  • Composting organic matter to accelerate the preparation process of compost or biofertilizer.

We are applying E.M to our seedlings and organic compost in the nursery and have already seen fantastic results in terms of growth!

As you can see, time is flying here in the Rainforest and as it does we become more inspired, growing in both strength and numbers as more and more people join us in our efforts to reforest the Atlantic Rainforest in Brazil!

Our eternal gratitude to each and every one of you!

With much love and gratitude, as always!

Arielle, Ecoleaders, Deivid, Team Iracambi, Volunteers, and of course the Atlantic Rainforest 

This is Adrago! It was planted in January 2019
This is Adrago! It was planted in January 2019
Guess what seeds are? It's the Abrigo de Macaco
Guess what seeds are? It's the Abrigo de Macaco
Volunteers planting Palmito Jussara!
Volunteers planting Palmito Jussara!
Effective microorganisms (EM)
Effective microorganisms (EM)
Effective microorganisms (EM)
Effective microorganisms (EM)
Maranhao chestnut growing in the field
Maranhao chestnut growing in the field
Urucum seedling in the reforestation
Urucum seedling in the reforestation

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With the generous contribution from BVSA (Bolsa de Valores Socioambiental) and 363 individual donations, 2018 was a fantastic year for the Forests for Water Project and we made great progress.

Iracambi planted 6,000 NATIVE TREES of 65 species in 30 PROPERTIES in 3 municipalities in the Muriaé River Basin and the surrounding Serra do Brigadeiro area to combat water scarcity.

In addition to involving local and international STUDENTS and VOLUNTEERS, the Forests for Water project placed 30th in the water category of the Latin America Green Award, which selects the 500 best socio-environmental projects in Latin America.

New regional partnerships have strengthened the project with the delivery of two courses; "Protection and Recovery of Springs" and  "Water Planters" provided by  SENAR and the We are Water Network, which together trained 33 people.

In local partnerships, DEMSUR (Department of Basic Sanitation of Muriaé) donated 700 fence posts to the local community involved in the project.

In addition, we analysed the water of the springs to be reforested by the project using the following parameters:

  • Total Coliforms
  • Fecal Coliforms
  • Color
  • Turbidity
  • pH
  • Aspect

Of the 30 samples, only ONE SPRING complies with all the safe levels required for human consumption.

Feedback from our project beneficiaries:

"When I was younger, my father did not care much about water, now that the farm is in my hands, I want to protect our most precious resource: water. After the crisis we experienced in 2014/2015 we can see the importance of this natural resource! Without it family farming, animals, plants would simply not exist".
Antônio - Ervália.

"in 2014/2015 our spring dried up! My brothers had to walk 3/4 miles with a wheelbarrow to collect drinking water and water to wash my crochet to sell at the market. Many of our neighbors made artesian wells, but we did not want that. We decided to plant some trees around the spring, and the spring returned and never dried up again! Since then we take as much care as possible to protect the spring, because we learnt the hard way the challenges a lack of water bring".
Maria - Ancorado, Rosário da Limeira.

The challenge for 2019 is to plant CILIARY FOREST (on the banks of the river) that work like eyelashes, preventing flooding, silting, erosion, and has the capacity to retain nutrients and contaminants.

Reducing the pollution of water sources, besides creating habitats, forms forest corridors which facilitate the movement and propagation of wild animals and flora.

Most importantly, WITHOUT YOUR HELP, NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE!

Whether you are donating, partnering, volunteering, promoting our work, encouraging people to be more environmentally sustainable, YOU MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE!

THANK YOU GUYS SO MUCH!

With love and Iracambi hugs,

Arielle Canedo, the Iracambi team, young people from R. da Limeira, Belisário, Ervália, farming families and mother nature! (Have you noticed we’re growing?!)

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Dear Atlantic Forest Champions,

It’s raining like crazy in the rainforest and that’s why we’ve been working overtime this quarter!

By mid October it was already time to start buying our organic fertilizer. It was easy to get the lime, but organic fertilizer from chicken houses was another story! Apart from sending the truck along the wrong road (because we usually get around by motorbike) we stayed up late figuring out the right road and then we had to put it all into sacks - which was a bit of a nightmare, especially since it smells really, really bad. But, if you grit your teeth and keep smiling, things work out, don’t they?

We paid fifty visits to prospective farms, and chose thirty, based on interest and need. And the seven hundred fence posts donated by the local water and sanitation company were distributed to thirteen farmers who needed to fence off their springs.

After doing the soil analyses we learned that all the soils on these properties are degraded and not easily infiltrated. We applied lime to correct the acidity in the soil, and the fertilizer from the chicken houses which is rich in nitrogen, lime, phosphorus and magnesium - all essential elements for good plant growth. This organic material is essential to improve the structure of the soil, its capacity to retain water, and to help the proliferation of micro-organisms and worms. We used around half a kilo of chicken fertilizer for each tree, and different quantities of lime depending on the soil analysis.  

And this weekend we finished taking water samples, really interested in finding out the results. But we’re pretty sure the water quality is bad and we’ve already planned how to fix it!

PLANTING

Even in the pouring rain the planting doesn’t stop - lots of learning from one another, story telling, laughter, and like all country folk in this state, lots of coffee and cake at the end of the day. As for our volunteer coordinator Lisa - she even fell into a (shallow) well!

In the farms where the fencing has been done and the soil and water analyses we moved onto the next stage of the project with the help of Marcos, Vanderson and Gabriel, who helped getting ready for planting. Luiz and I delivered the seedlings and then it was time to move ahead.  

As part of our outreach program we managed to get twelve schoolkids to help outm and together we planted five hundred seedlings on Antonio’s farm. And of course had coffee and cake to celebrate.... Later we visited a different school and recruited another team of twelve who joined us after school to plant trees to protect water resources in the town. And this week we signed up a group of seventeen from another school to add weight to our team!  

First we give a quick practical lesson about our forest biome - some of the students don’t even know they live in the Atlantic Forest! - talk about the importance of water and the droughts of 2014/15, explain what is the water catchment area and why it’s important to reforest it. And we’ve been happily surprised by the energy of these kids. They always show up, climb up steep hillsides to plant trees and don’t seem to get discouraged. They’re real warriors! (We’re thinking of taking them on a hike up Graminha Mountain as a surprise - but don’t tell them!)

So we’re really happy and grateful, because, as well as helping families that have been really short of water, and families that wanted to reforest in order to avoid future water shortages, we’re also helping schoolchildren learn to love nature. We’re sure that whatever they do in life they’ll be environmentalists. And it’s great for the kids and the farmers to get together - they all learn a lot. Which is an added bonus, and something we never expected.  

So we’ve managed to finish platning on half the properties, and we plan to finish them all by the end of the month so as to give the seedlings the best possible chance during the rainy season which goes on till the end of March/April. And we’d like to send a big THANK YOU to each one of you for your help, because without you we wouldn’t have this project. And together we’re planting trees, restoring the forest and inspiring the next generation. Thank you, thank you! You are the real angels of the forest.

With much love,

Arielle, Luiz, schoolchildren of Limeira, Belisario and Ervália, local farmers and, of course, Mother Nature. (The family is growing, right?)

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Organization Information

Iracambi

Location: Rosario da Limeira, MG - Brazil
Website:
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Project Leader:
Alielle Canedo
Rosario da Limeira, MG Brazil
$40,893 raised of $73,000 goal
 
982 donations
$32,107 to go
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