Pathways to Preservation of the Atlantic Forest

April 22, 2024


Photo Credit: Adriano Gambarini

When was the last time you stood in a forest and took in its beauty? This Earth Month, we’re proud to feature Caterpillar Foundation’s collaboration with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to protect and restore the Atlantic Forest in Brazil’s Mantiqueira region. In the face of increasing biodiversity loss and disasters, the need for concerted measures to preserve the world’s forests has never been more urgent.

The Atlantic Forest, renowned for its ecological significance, is a critical habitat for countless plant and animal species, many of which are exclusive to the region and essential for maintaining a balanced ecosystem. Once stretching across 350 million acres, this ecosystem now stands as one of the planet’s most threatened, with only a fraction of its original expanse remaining. Only 12% of the original forest remains due to unsustainable land practices and unchecked development, which continues to chip away at the forest's fragile edges, leaving it vulnerable to further degradation and destruction. The loss of forest land also threatens the traditional rural communities whose livelihoods are directly linked to the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.

TNC's holistic initiative encompasses carbon sequestration, water security, biodiversity, and social impact. Through strategic interventions such as reforestation and sustainable land management, TNC and its partners are working to reverse the tide of habitat loss and degradation. In addition, TNC has implemented a wildfire prevention agenda, providing science education, training and capacity building for volunteer brigades, local partners, and others. By integrating environmental conservation with social development, TNC's initiative aims to achieve lasting positive change for both people and nature.

This collaboration fosters long-term sustainability and resilience within the Mantiqueira ecosystem. Investing in community engagement and capacity building empowers residents to become stewards of their natural environment, ensuring that conservation efforts are effective, inclusive and equitable while meeting the needs of people living in the region.

So the next time you stand in front of a forest and take in the beauty of nature, you also know that not only does it safeguard the rich tapestry of life within its borders but also uplifts the surrounding community while contributing to global efforts to promote environmental resilience.