Wildlife and Reforestation in Brazil

Wildlife & Ecosystems

Wildlife and Reforestation in Brazil

The once vast Atlantic Forest in Brazil has been reduced to less than one sixth of its former size. Help researchers to reforest this area, while studying how mammals respond to this newly created habitat.

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The facts

Why the research is important

Why the research is important

Mammal communities have profound impacts on ecosystems and can directly affect human societies.

As effects from climate change become stronger, increasing the resiliency of forests and animal populations becomes more important than ever. This study will help to ensure Latin American forests will be sustainable and biodiverse for decades to come.

According to the United Nations, South America’s tropical ecosystems may be among the regions most affected by climate change. Latin American forests — which occupy approximately 22% of the region and represent about 27% of global forest coverage — have a strong influence on local and regional climate, play a significant role in the global carbon budget, contain an important share of all plant and animal species in the region, and are economically critical for national and international markets.


Volunteers measure the body length of a Southeastern Four-eyed Opossum.

Despite their profound importance, these forests have been dramatically reduced. Only 11.6% of the natural vegetation cover remains, and the forested areas that still stand are extremely disconnected from one another. As a result, these forests are even more vulnerable to the damaging effects of climate change, as are the many Brazilian people who rely on them.

While reforestation efforts have been initiated to restore the lost forests, it is unknown whether these efforts will also restore the same ecosystem services and functions as the original vegetation. Mammals act as a regulator for a variety of interactions between a large diversity of species, so the health of mammal populations can be used as an indicator of overall ecosystem health. Understanding to what extent vegetation recovery also restores mammal diversity will provide data about the long-term health and sustainability of these reforested areas.

This study will directly contribute to the management plan of REGUA. As we work towards stewarding and restoring the world’s forests, information about how to best manage that process and restore ecosystem functions is critical.

About the research area

Reserva Ecológica de Guapiaçu- REGUA, Cachoeiras de Macacu, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, South America

Daily life in the field


This is a summary:

The Scientists


Lead Scientist, Earthwatch Institute, Researcher, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro

ABOUT Manoel Muanis

Dr. Manoel Muanis is working in the forests of the Reserva Ecológica de Guapiaçu to study how mammal distribution is affected by reforestation efforts.


Accommodations and Food

Accommodations and Food


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