A project in Southern Brazil aims to restore 335 hectares (827 acres) of Araucaria moist forests and plant 250,000 seedlings of native species inside Conservation Units and Permanent Preservation Areas on small farms. The Araucaria tree is the symbol of the Brazilian state of Paraná, yet only 0.8% of its natural forests remain in a good state of conservation — a mere 60,000 hectares (150,000 acres) of the original 8 million (20 million acres) that once existed here. Aside from reversing tree cuts in Paraná — the state with the highest rate of deforestation in the Atlantic Forest — the project hopes to transform natural areas into economic assets through compensation programs that pay the farmers for their environmental services for keeping the forest standing. Araucaria trees have been growing since the Jurassic period, surviving across numerous geological eras and events like the split of the Gondwana supercontinent. But today’s Araucarias are not managing to withstand the hands of humans and their chainsaws. The tree also known as the Brazilian Pine has its habitat in the Mixed Ombrophilous Forest, one of the Atlantic Forest ecosystems that once covered large swaths of southern Brazil. But more than a century of […]

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