THE HEART PROJECT
The Atlantic Rain Forest, also called Mata Atlântica, was originally approximately 1,233,875 square kilometers (100%) and has been reduced to a mere 99,944 square kilometers (7%) today. One can still find a variety of 264 mammals, 1,000 species of birds, over 750 species of reptiles and amphibians and 23,000 species of plants. Mata Atlântica is in fact older then the Amazon Rain Forest and has evolved unique eco-systems providing habitats for a number of species found no where else on the planet!
Although very little remains the Atlantic Rain Forest continues to be threatened and deforestation rates continue due to cattle ranching, sugar cane, coffee, eucalyptus plantations, bio-fuels, coal, hunting, poaching and urban sprawl. Basically the Atlantic Rain Forest, which is, in fact, a fragmented patchwork quilt of forested areas that are no bigger then half a square kilometer, is in a terrible state of crisis!
With all of this in mind and the affects of global warming on future generations of all life on our planet the decision was easy, something needed to be done and would have to be done effectively. Therefore, we at the Growing Air Foundation are now planning the restoration and CPR (conservation, preservation & resuscitation) of the Mata Atlântica with our first planting project, The Heart Project, an area of 98 hectares of degraded forest to be planted with one million trees! See the images below.
Broad division of total area to be planted
A detailed division of areas to be planted.
See the information charts below:
Here is our project leader Antoni Karres who took the images below
showing what has happened. He is a socio-environmental activist that
was awarded the first Atlantic Rainforest Environmental Merit Award,
now very busy mapping out the entire area to be planted and he
continues to do so as I am writing this. Antoni also has 25+ years of experience
setting up socio-environmental projects, smaller replanting projects,
setting up nurseries as well as working with schools creating rainforest
This used to be quite a wide river with trees all around, now, just a covering of grass!
This too, was once covered in trees and is also now covered in grass!
This waterfall used to be as wide as the rocks, now it is about one quarter what it used to be! It may look pristine but this is certainly not the case. As you look at the images imagine them to be completely forested, the river rushing wildly through area 4 and the waterfall above raging over those rocks. Only then will you have a true image of how pristine it all used to be.
Evidence was found of chemicals similar to agent orange which were used to destroy forested areas for non sustainable purposes!
Within this project we will be setting up “cells” in each area to facilitate a broad reach hastening restoration. A forest ranger system will also be set up with the help of local population as well as an information office run by indigenous people who will teach visitors about all aspects of the rain forest.
Click here to download the list of trees to be planted in the Heart Project: GAF Trees