SAVE Brasil brings the Atlantic Forest to Brazil’s Bird Fair
The second Brazilian Bird Fair, Avistar 2007, gave SAVE Brasil (Birdlife in Brazil) an opportunity to showcase the work done since the BirdLife International–Programa do Brasil was founded in 2000. Around 5,000 people attended Avistar at the Parque Villa-Lobos in the city of São Paulo, nearly five times as many as attended last year’s fair.
700 children from 28 schools visited the special Kids’ Pavilion, and enjoyed attractions like the Rufous Hornero’s nest built to human scale – three metres wide and a metre high.
Brazil has 1,796 bird species 191 of them endemic. A main attraction at the fair and its associated conference was the “Birdwatching in Latin America” roundtable coordinated by Pedro Develey, Director of Conservation at SAVE Brasil, with Andrés Bosso, Executive Director of Aves Argentinas (BirdLife in Argentina) also taking part.
Visitors to SAVE Brasil’s stand were able to buy the book Áreas Importantes para a Conservação das Aves no Brasil: parte 1 – estados do domínio da Mata Atlântica, which maps the the 163 most important sites for birds in the 15 Brazilian states that contain Atlantic forest, where 83 percent of Brazil’s most threatened bird species occur. Among these sites, SAVE Brasil has identified 16 as requiring immediate action.
They include Serra do Urubu, the remnants of montane Atlantic Forests which provide a home to four endemic species, Alagoas Foliage-gleaner Philydor novaesi, Alagoas Antwren Myrmotherula snowi, Alagoas Tyrannulet Phylloscartes ceciliae and Orange-bellied Antwren Terenura sicki, together with another five globally threatened bird species. In 2004, BirdLife/SAVE Brasil acquired an area of approximately 360 hectares at Serra do Urubu, to create the Pedra D'Anta private nature reserve (Reserva Particular do Patrimônio Natural, or RPPN), adjacent to the existing, 630 hectare Frei Caneca RPPN. Together the two reserves protect almost 1,000 hectares of continuous forest. A field manager has been appointed, and good relations have been established with the local community, leading to significant reduction in exploitation of the forest for charcoal inside the Pedra D’Anta property.
"...to disseminate information to a broader audience and stimulate Brazilian people's appreciation and care for birds." —Priscila Napoli, SAVE Brasil
The second site highlighted on SAVE Brasil’s stand was the Boa Nova/Serra da Ouricana IBA in Southwestern Bahia state, a transitional area between montane Atlantic Forests and the Caatinga biome. More than 300 bird species have been recorded here, including Slender Antbird Rhopornis ardesiacus, one of the rarest antbirds in Brazil, and Narrow-billed Antwren Formicivora iheringi. But less than 2.6% of the original forests remain at Boa Nova, and since 2004, BirdLife/SAVE Brasil has been working to preserve both the dry forest, or mata-de-cipó, and the Atlantic Forests of Boa Nova. SAVE Brasil is part of an initiative led by the Brazilian Ministry of Environment to develop public protected areas in the Atlantic Forest Central Corridor, and a Wildlife Refuge of 32,000 ha is expected to be created in Boa Nova, encompassing both mata-de-cipó and humid forests.
A project for the conservation of the Slender Antbird was recently approved by the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund (DWCF). This is the second application approved by the DWCF for Boa Nova and it will be of great value to consolidate the activities under development in the region.
Also in Bahia state is the Serra das Lontras and Javi Important Bird Areas. Visitors to the SAVE Brasil stand were able to buy hand-made chocolates, palm hearts, dried fruits and cacao wine, the results of SAVE Brasil’s work, in partnership with the local NGO Instituto de Estudos Socioambientais do Sul da Bahia (IESB), with farmers at Serra das Lontras to preserve the traditional cabruca system of growing cacao in the shade of forest trees. Serra das Lontras has 296 recorded bird species, of which 16 are globally threatened and two completely new to science.
The project run by SAVE Brasil together with other NGOs promotes new market opportunities for shade-grown organic cacao, such as European chocolatiers, to cooperative farmers, and supports producers in commercial negotiation and business management, enabling them to gain a much bigger premium for their cacao products. The project has also delivered samples to shops and restaurants in São Paulo. The early commercial success of farmers who have readopted the cabruca system is encouraging others to return to the practice.
Staff on the SAVE Brasil stand also distributed 200 seedlings of the threatened palm palmito-juçara (Euterpe edulis) and 200 seedlings of the fruit–bearing shrub pitanga (Eugenia uniflora), both Atlantic Forest native species.
“Avistar 2007 was of great importance to disseminate information to a broader audience and stimulate Brazilian people’s appreciation and care for birds,” said SAVE Brasil’s Manager of Institutional Development Priscila Napoli.
For more information about SAVE Brasil’s projects visit: www.savebrasil.org.br