Reforestation in Mata Atlantica
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Reforestation in Mata Atlantica
How old are tropical trees?


Before and after images of reforestation projects carried out by researchers at the Linhares Reserve in the Brazilian state of Espirito Santo using native tree species from the Atlantic Rainforest . 

High diversity seedlings provided to local farmers to help reforest preservation areas

Contact Information

Jeff Chambers
Tulane University
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
400 Lindy Boggs
New Orleans, LA  70118
Ph:   504-862-8291
Fax:: 504-862-8706

Brazil’s Atlantic Rainforest (“Mata Atlântica”) is an important area to focus reforestation efforts.  Conservation International ranks Mata Atlântica as one of the top five biological hotspots.  Of the 1.35 million square kilometers of original forest in the year 1500, only about 7% remains, with most of the deforested areas being utilized as cattle pasture.  Of particular important are "preservation areas" near rivers and on steep slopes that must by law remain forested.  Payments from carbon credits can help tilt-the-balance in favor of reforesting preservation areas by providing economic incentives to farmers.

One important activity in this effort is determining what tree community composition is most effective at restoring a tropical pasture to high-diversity forest, while simultaneously maximizing the carbon sequestration rates.  Toward this effort, we are collaborating with the Linhares Reserve in the Brazilian state of Espírito Santo.  The reserve is unique with a large facility for mass producing seedlings of more than 400 native Mata Atlântica tree species.  One recently established project is a fully replicated reforestation experiment on 18 ha using tree species diversity, life-history guilds, and planting density as treatments.  My lab’s role is developing relationships among ecophysiological parameters such a photosynthesis, respiration, and transpiration, with performance parameters such as growth rate and biomass gain.

Nursery seedlings