Reforestation – the restoration of native forest and riparian ecosystems in the Alter do Chão area and greater Santarém region, is the first branch of the ACRAA tree.

Alter do Chão is located in the Amazon Rainforest, and the importance of this forest to the global biosphere is becoming increasingly known. It is also a very special region as the largest freshwater aquifer in the world by volume is located here. The Alter do Chão area also draws attention for having freshwater beaches of admirable beauty, these famous nationally and internationally. In fact, in 2009 the Guardian rated the beaches of Alter do Chão as the number one “beach” in Brazil. See the Guardian article here.

And it is in the restoration of the economically vital beaches around Alter do Chão that ACRAA is focusing its initial efforts, as there is an urgent need here. Specifically, this means planting the appropriate species to reverse the ongoing loss of tree cover here. 

We started this work in February 2020 with the collection of seeds from several species of trees that grow on these beaches, including the Ilha do Amor [1]. In March of the same year the first of these seeds germinated, those of a tree locally known as Comandá. This work continued through 2021 and 2022, and we now have a growing collection of “Beach Trees” in our plant nursery. In February 2022 we began to plant some of those first Comandá, these two years old now and 2 meters in height. See here.

But you only need to go a few kilometers from Alter do Chão to find areas where other riparian ecosystems are in need of restoration, and areas where oportunities for larger-scale reforestation exist. See our project pages for more information here.

We realize, however, that “restoration” and “protection” of forests and riparian ecosystems are two sides of the same coin. It is important, therefore, that ACRAA be involved in ensuring that the trees on Alter’s public beaches are protected. We believe that for the most part this will consist of good signage, public education, and perhaps fencing of small areas to prevent damage – which is for the most part unintentional. Ilha do Amor and other beaches around Alter will also provide the first “site” for our Reforestation Tourism and Reforestation Field School activities. See here.

[1] An important rule in ecological restoration is collect your seeds / planting material from the same (or nearby) site and ecological plant community that you intend to restore.