Forests4Water Brazil: Community Climate Action

by Iracambi
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Forests4Water Brazil: Community Climate Action
Forests4Water Brazil: Community Climate Action
Forests4Water Brazil: Community Climate Action
Forests4Water Brazil: Community Climate Action
Forests4Water Brazil: Community Climate Action
Forests4Water Brazil: Community Climate Action
Forests4Water Brazil: Community Climate Action
Forests4Water Brazil: Community Climate Action
Forests4Water Brazil: Community Climate Action
Forests4Water Brazil: Community Climate Action
Forests4Water Brazil: Community Climate Action
Forests4Water Brazil: Community Climate Action
Forests4Water Brazil: Community Climate Action
Forests4Water Brazil: Community Climate Action
Forests4Water Brazil: Community Climate Action
Forests4Water Brazil: Community Climate Action
Forests4Water Brazil: Community Climate Action
Forests4Water Brazil: Community Climate Action
Forests4Water Brazil: Community Climate Action
Forests4Water Brazil: Community Climate Action
Forests4Water Brazil: Community Climate Action
Forests4Water Brazil: Community Climate Action
Forests4Water Brazil: Community Climate Action
Forests4Water Brazil: Community Climate Action
Forests4Water Brazil: Community Climate Action
Forests4Water Brazil: Community Climate Action
Forests4Water Brazil: Community Climate Action

Well, lovely donors, 

You're not going to believe this but I had jjust finished writing this quarterly report to you when some gremlin got into the site or my fingers or somewhere and seized up the site and my report VANISHED into thin air! 

But down in the forest we are made of stern stuff, so here it comes again. 

And the main thing we want to do is give you guys a big shoutout for your amazing support over the last quarter, which has averaged almost $500 a month. You are the best! 

You support comes at the perfect moment, because we're in the thick of the planting season. And as we've probably told you, work in forest restoration goes on year round. Sure, there are quieter times and busier times and this has certainly been one of the busier times. 

It's not unexpected - after all we are in the midst of rainy season, and that's when we normally do the planting. But before we tell you of our adventures, let's give you a quick rundown of some of the activities that your generous donations are supporting. 

  • Finding, cleaning and preparing the seeds (from the forest)
  • Identifying and sorting them 
  • Making compost to enrich the soil (forest soils are not very fertile) 
  • Planting the seeds in the seed bed and waiting for them to germinate: 3 - 6 weeks
  • Transplanting them into plastic sacks
  • Watering, weeding and dosing with organic fertilizer as required
  • When coffee harvest is over (July, August) visiting participating farms to locate priority areas for reforestation 
  • Taking soil and water samples and selecting the best mix of species depending on the farm topography
  • Visting the farms before planting to check that the area is fenced and weeded and everything is in place 
  • Digging the holes and applying organic fertilizer 
  • Mobilizing as many volunteers as possible to help with the planting 
  • Returning to the farms to monitor the growth of the young forests

This year things weren't entirely straightforward - and the title of this project may have given you a hint. Due to very heavy rains we had to cope with flooding, landslides and impassable dirt roads which slowed us down a lot. So we're currently 60% of the way towards making our goal of 7,000 trees planted, and we'll keep going as and how we can. Next year we're raising our target to 10,000 trees.

There's one good thing about extreme weather events. They focus the mind wonderfully. And every tree that you help us plant and maintain will help stabilize the soils, increase rainwater infiltration and avoid runoff and play an important role in flood control. 

Thank you, dear donors, for your support. Please stay with us as together we restore the forests on which we all depend. Please consider, if you can, becoming a regular donor. Please share our project link with your friends and colleagues and ask them to join you in supporting the work we are doing together.  

muddy but happy hugs from the rainforest, 


Arielle and the Forests4Water team


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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. 


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!


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.


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


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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Organization Information


Location: Rosario da Limeira, MG - Brazil
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Luiz Gusmao
Rosario da Limeira , MG Brazil
$271,094 raised of $350,000 goal
4,993 donations
$78,906 to go
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