Acquiring and Replanting Atlantic Rainforest

The Breathe Foundation covers the creation of events/seminars/discussion forums, the identification of social/ecological based initiatives, fundraising and direct support of projects. The foundation regularly participates in the creation of communication platforms through the production of documentaries, TV, web based products and print to raise awareness.

Working with several organisations, the Breathe Foundation’s 2010 main focus is the Atlantic Rainforest in Brazil. Now less than 7% of its original size, UNESCO has identified it as one of the five highest biodiversity hotspots in the world. Farming, illegal logging and poaching is pushing this area towards ecological collapse, diversity being replaced by monoculture. The main focus of this project is one of guardianship, reforestation and education. Funded by a carbon offset programme, memberships and donations, the 10 year goal is to reclaim 700,000m2 of forest, creating an intact ecological corridor which will then be registered protected via Brazillian Environmental law. The main aims of the project include

  • Building of an education, research and admin centre adjacent to the forest to act as an education, management and meeting hub
  • Acquisition of identified priority (critical) land positions to create ecological bridges and farmer allotment allocation
  • Plant selected initial area with seedlings
  • Research and evaluation of the general health and next priority land purchase

The Update

1,400 seedlings were planted, focussed on an area of 7,000m square on critical fringe locations where creating ecological corridors is a major focal point.  An additional 3,000 seedlings were planted by local farmers, schools and volunteers.

To house and oversee the administration and implementation of the on-going reforestation and education programmes, the construction of a duel-purpose AFRI building was undertaken.  This building is also used as an environmental and conservation classroom, a meeting point for farmers for ecology and horticulture seminars.  The building used locally sources, ecologically efficient materials, including reclaimed wood, coconut husk roofing and recycled bottles.

Environmental education programmes for local farmers / communities has been started as well as use of the facility as part of the local school education and conservation curriculum, for firld trips and planting sessions as part of Ecology courses as additional seedlings and land become available.  Guided tours to the site have been held as part of seminars and workshops involving leading biologists, ecologists, conservation organisations, international and local NGOs working in the area or internationally.

Visits have also been undertaken by opinion leaders, media and subject experts to maximise the communication and networking platform, particularly focussed on reaching a younger demographic. Over 30 international and local media participated during the main event and multiple articles and coverage has resulted in print media, internet platforms and TV stations.