SINAL: Reforesting and Reconnecting with Nature

by Instituto Sinal do Vale
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SINAL: Reforesting and Reconnecting with Nature
SINAL: Reforesting and Reconnecting with Nature
SINAL: Reforesting and Reconnecting with Nature
SINAL: Reforesting and Reconnecting with Nature
SINAL: Reforesting and Reconnecting with Nature
SINAL: Reforesting and Reconnecting with Nature
SINAL: Reforesting and Reconnecting with Nature
SINAL: Reforesting and Reconnecting with Nature
SINAL: Reforesting and Reconnecting with Nature
SINAL: Reforesting and Reconnecting with Nature
SINAL: Reforesting and Reconnecting with Nature
SINAL: Reforesting and Reconnecting with Nature
SINAL: Reforesting and Reconnecting with Nature
SINAL: Reforesting and Reconnecting with Nature
SINAL: Reforesting and Reconnecting with Nature
The wine lab
The wine lab

We like to get creative exploring possibilities of using the abundant resources of the forest, in a way that gives value to innovative techniques of forest regeneration. Agroforestry is a land use management system in which trees are grown next to crops or pastures, to increase biodiversity, keep the soil rich and reduce erotion.

One of our agroforestry prototypes was specifically designed choosing certain fruits that grow easily in the Mata Atlantica and have plenty of sugars. We planted amora, jabuticava (Brazilian grapetree), Bananas, Guava, Pin among others, so our research and development coordinator could have a steady supply close by to develop a series of wines in the hopes of finding a good combination thatcould be scalable.

So far, we've tried pure jabuticava wine, banana-pineapple and amora. We'll see how many more combinations we come up with - it's all about being creative, and taking advantage of the abundance of the forest. 

A huge thank you to our donors who enable us to find creative ways to save our rainforest!

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This month, SINAL partnered with Carpe Projetos Socioambientais (socioenvironmental projects) to kickstart another agroforestry prototype pruning to revitalize the trees and using principally banana tree biomass to enrich the soil underground. 

With this intervention, we now have three different agroforestry prototypes. One especially designed for our Atlantic Rainforest fruit wine experiment, with guava, brazilian cherry tree (pitanga), brazilian grapetree (jabuticaba) among others; another one of superfoods (pupunha, juçara), and finally this one that is just going through phase one of soil preparation.

Through these prototypes we will be able to gather best practices to keep implementing in our surrounding property!

A big thank you to all our donors who help us create all these possibilities of knowledge for a better relationship with our environment!

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Inga Flowers - they bloom twice a year!
Inga Flowers - they bloom twice a year!

This has been a busy rainy season for us, making new seedlings of native species to continue reforestation in depleted areas, and testing bioproducts and agroforestry techniques! Agroforestry within our Regenerative Landscape Management proposal is a model of reforestation that we want to prove can provide a possibility of restoration of the soil and forest, as well as a healthy food supply chain for the region.

We have been growing Inga in our nursery, a native species of the Atlantic Rainforest - this type of tree is not only a pioneer species to help reforest, it is also very good at fixing nitrogen in the soil, and has been used in agroforests for its ability to heal the soil after it has been burned constantly for monocropping. This is why we have been using it in areas where there was an old coffee plantation that depleted the soil.

Several other techniques are being considered, like the use of hydrogels after the rainy season is over to keep our newly planted agroforests hydrated, and we are testing our biofertilizers and compost made with our own organic matter. In the coming weeks, we will select a new area to do another experimental 1 Ha foresting activity, trying to prove that reforesting can be done in a cheaper, natural and more cost effective way - we will report these results to organizations such as the State Institute of Environmental Education of Rio de Janeiro, and the IUCN!

Thank you so much to all our donors who have helped us make such great progress, we are very excited with our project, we believe it is a solution that can be shared across this region and can help restore the Atlantic Rainforest and create a culture of respect and preservation for its rich biodiversity!

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Mandala garden
Mandala garden

The November rains have finally begun here in Rio de Janeiro, which means one thing for us in the Mata Atlantica: tree planting season has begun! 

We started the season with planting 100 seedlings of Jussara. Jussara is also known as the açai of the Mata Atlantica. It is famous for its superfood qualities and delicious taste in the form of ice cream. The jussara tree also produces a heart of palm, and for this reason it has been cut down in large numers and become highly endangered. In fact, it is a federal crime to cut a jussara tree. We have therefore included jussara as one of our principal fruit trees in our agroforest so we can protect this species. 

In our permaculture gardens, which have flourished since our last report, we are now adding the latest ring of the mandala which is made up of papaya trees. Due to good weather, restoration of the soil, and a whole lot of team work, our gardens have been highly productive, producing all sorts of vegetables such as lettuce, beets, carrots, kale, peppers, pumpkins, tomotoes, and eggplants. Check out a drone photo of the garden mandala!

With all the exciting progress we've been making in the gardens and agroforests, we have been able to share our knowledge with local landowners, community leaders, and government official through monthly courses. We have hosted 4 workshops on regenerative agriculture, agroforestry, and sustainable cooking, and impacted over 80 people from the region in our courses. 

 

Thanks to all our supporters for making this all possible.

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Jorge explaining permaculture
Jorge explaining permaculture

This is a very exciting time at Sinal since we are beginning a new cycle with our organic garden beds. This time, we have taken an approach of permaculture, designing a mandala in our main production garden. Circular designs make sense because it helps to spend less energy overall, and it is more favorable for a microclimate that attracts more biodiversity. Jorge Navas, a pioneer of permaculture with vast experience in the Amazon is helping us understand and carry in with the process.

At the same time, we have doubled our production of compost and have begun making biofertilizers, all organic and with local natural resources, to restore the soil around us to help nature regenerate itself. Sinal is concentrating its efforts in sending the message: healing the soil helps heal the enviroment, our food and ourselves! This is why we have also cook our meals with local, organic ingredients where we use the entirety of the produce so as to reduce waste and avoid buying packed food that will generate trash. 

A big thank you to our supporters for helping us take our steps toward a sustainable balance of the use of forest resources! we are in the process of structuring our lessons learned to share them with the community of land owners around us!

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Organization Information

Instituto Sinal do Vale

Location: Rio de Janeiro, RJ - Brazil
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Thais Corral
General Coordinator
Duque de Caxias, RJ Brazil
$15,306 raised of $20,000 goal
 
143 donations
$4,694 to go
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