All Posts By

Eloise Moench

An impressive 90% survival rate

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Image 1: Planting in the field, December 2018

The thousands of seedlings that were planted by BJF’s team back in December have passed all expectations. Whereas 70% is the standard survival rate for reforestation projects, 90% of our seedlings have survived. This is because of fortunate rainfall ánd great maintenance work by the team at Fazenda Santa Fé!


Image 2: Our Project Coordinator next to one of the growing pioneer trees, April 2019

Arben – Estudos e Consultoria Ambiental

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We are very proud to announce a new technical partner has recently joined our mission. Arben – Estudos e Consultoria Ambiental, a highly qualified and vibrant environmental consulting company from São Paulo, has offered to contribute to the creation of the Araguaia Biodiversity Corridor. Arben specialise in studies, licensing and environmental services. Their very qualified team will help our forest engineers with mapping and the development of new ecological restoration techniques.

However, Arben also want more. Their associates want to leave a legacy on the world by sponsoring their own restoration site in the Araguaia region.  Here, new direct seeding restoration techniques can be developed and improved. The scientific knowledge generated in these experiments may help with the restoration of other parts of the Cerrado and the Amazon.

Due to the vastness of the Araguaia Corridor, each of our partners has a special role to play in its creation. Arben works on the premise that other technical restoration partners should not be viewed as competition. Instead they are opportunities for collaboration and complementation. This new partnership will especially complement the pacts we have in place with our current restoration partners.The BJF are honoured to have Arben participating in this journey.

You can find out more about Arben – Estudos e Consultoria Ambiental here.

Landowner creates the ‘farm of the future’

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“We are country people, farmers for a better world.” – Guilherme Tiezzi

Our dedicated partner and landowner – Guilherme Tiezzi- is setting an inspiring example. Tiezzi is turning his land into a ‘Farm of the Future’, situated in Caseara in the state of Tocantins, between the Amazon and Cerrado Biome.

Tiezzi is implementing a innovative land use model that works in harmony with nature and the surrounding community. We couldn’t be more impressed with his work. He is considering nature as a valuable element in its own right, not just a good for consumption.

The farm of the future focuses on seven areas: reforestation, ecotourism, forest school, livestock and green agriculture, network entrepreneurship, spirituality and renewable energy. Each dimension ramifies into smaller projects that all also interact with each other.

There are 14 projects distributed throughout these 7 dimensions. Examples of projects are: creating a jungle lodge to encourage sustainable ecotourism, developing entrepreneurial training schemes in Bio-Agri-Business, starting a seed bank (which already has 10 thousand seeds for seedling production).

One of the focuses of the new farm is ecological restoration, aiming to encourage the creation and maintenance of the forests on his land. Tiezzi therefore supports the BJF in its mission through a multitude of ways. For instance through a BJF partnership to build together a nursery to grow seedlings for native trees. This is integral to the BJF’s work, as we now have the facilities and the space to grow our seedlings for his farm and neighbouring farms in and around the Caseara area.

Tiezzi and his inspiring ‘Farm of the Future’ is truly visionary. It is a case study of how agriculture and agribusiness can be sustainable, productive and be a driving force for community development.

Image 2: The ‘farm of the future”s seven areas of focus

The Biodiversity of the Cerrado Savanna

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Image 1: A Calliandra plant flowering in the Cerrado Savanna

The Amazon Rainforest is the most prolific jungle in the world, known for its incredibly rich and biodiverse biome. Yet our corridor covers another vital biome: The Cerrado Savanna. Whilst lesser known on a global scale, the Cerrado is also one of the most species rich and fundamental biomes on the planet.

The Cerrado covers around 23% of Brazil. It is considered to be the richest savanna in the world. The number of plant species surpasses 11,000, with 4,151 of these being exclusive to this biome alone (Forzza et al. 2012) . This means that around 37% of the plant species found here exist nowhere else in the world.

The climate in the Cerrado is tropical, with annual precipitations generally varying from 1100 mm to 1600 mm. This makes it ample terrain for a variety of species, and it is home to many different forms of vegetation. These differ from open grasslands to forests. It is changes in soil conditions throughout the Cerrado that allows for such biodiversity.

Within the Cerrado are the springs of the three largest hydrographic basins of South America. Thus, the Cerrado provides the beginnings of essential water sources for a large part of the continent. It is therefore critical to keep this biome healthy and alive. Our project ecologically restores the Cerrado, giving it life. This, in turn, can give life back to us all.

Source: Forzza et al. 2012. New Brazilian Floristic List Highlights Conservation Challenges. Bioscience 62: 39-45.

The UN’s groundbreaking biodiversity report

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As many of you will already be aware, the UN’s Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service released a report on Monday, 6th of May 2019. It was a comprehensive assessment of global biodiversity loss.

The report paints an alarming picture of the current state of natural decline; it explains how nature is being destroyed tens to hundreds of times faster than the average degree over the last 10 million years.

It also explains how one eighth of species that are currently alive on earth are at risk of extinction. This report, therefore, is not one to ignore. It took three years to compile and has been contributed to by more than 450 scientists and diplomats. You can read more about its findings here.

Although this report shows the alarming threat of extinction for so many species, it also serves as a much needed signal. A signal that we need to stand up and act now to prevent catastrophic natural degradation. All is not lost if we act now, we can write our own future and stop this decline.

One proven way of preventing species decline is protecting and restoring our tropical forests. Our project aims to restore biodiversity along the Araguaia river. This will serve as a life artery for so many plants and species in the Amazon and Cerrado Savanna, two of the most ecologically rich biomes in the world.

By restoring nature and saving species from extinction, we are ensuring a future for humanity. We will be saving the underlying and interdependent natural systems vital for so many different functions in our lives: fresh water, modern medicine, oxygen and more.

Another important finding from this report is that 23% of global land has reduced agricultural productivity, due to land degradation. For landowners along the corridor, ecologically restoring small sections of their land will:

  • Maintain soil fertility and decrease soil erosion
  • Help regulate local rain cycles
  • Increase natural pollination by insects and birds
  • Conserve local water resources

You can learn more about the fundamental importance of restoring our forests and jungles, from the calming voice of David Attenborough here.

The impressive growth of our native trees

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We are so proud of the growth of the seedlings we have planted thanks to you. They have grown an unprecedented amount in the last few months. Just 4 months ago many of them were no bigger than a few centimetres high. Now, since they have been planted in the field, some are measuring up to 2 meters tall! This is an incredible testament to how helping nature just a little bit can lead to incredible ecological results.

The trees shown in this video are pioneer trees, planted at Fazenda Santa Fe, Santana do Araguaia in Para State in Brazil. They will eventually provide a canopy for more biodiverse secondary trees to grow underneath.

Launch of BJF’s Official Monitoring Protocol

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In order to ensure the success of our project, The Black Jaguar Foundation will now use an Official Monitoring Protocol to prove that our ecological restoration work is effective. The technical team at Black Jaguar Foundation- assisted by the forest restoration specialists Bioflora and the Forest Ecology and Restoration Laboratory (University of São Paulo)- developed the protocol to assess areas that have already been restored along the corridor.

The Black Jaguar Foundation implements restoration methodologies tailored to each biome and each phytophysiognomy along the Corridor. Regardless of the chosen restoration technique, these ecosystems are expected to show improvements in biodiversity, structure and functionality throughout the restoration process. The Protocol includes qualitative and quantitative assessments to be conducted in areas that are under restoration. In the early years, external, internal and aerial images will be used to show changes in soil cover. After the third year, quantitative sampling is conducted using random plots. In these plots, soil cover by native vegetation and the density and richness of natural regeneration will be verified.

Parameters measured in the field are compared to a reference values table, which indicates the numbers considered critical, minimum or adequate. If values are appropriate, the site is considered restored. Otherwise, BJF technicians should intervene to correct the ecology of the area and ensure it is on the right trajectory.

Quantitative monitoring is conducted in the third, fifth, tenth, fifteenth and twentieth year after planting, which will collectively produce a technical report of the area. Once the area is considered restored, monitoring ceases.

Furthermore, some in-depth analyses are planned in certain sites, with the aim of developing scientific knowledge. This will take place in partnership with local universities and research institutes.


Primary School children support the BJF

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We are very impressed by the pupils of the Geert Groote school in Dordrecht. As part of a three week interactive project the students have learnt about our grand mission and raised funds to support the BJF. The focus for their project was a “livable world” and the children worked on collecting plastic bottles.

The proceeds from this bottle collection went towards the BJF. Our Community Outreach Coordinator, Joel Boele, was a guest speaker at the school, where she used to also be a student. She presented our mission to the children and was very impressed by how impassioned and knowledgeable they were on the subject of climate and environmental degradation.

Thank you, Geert Groote school, for your mighty supporting of our project!

Meet Dimitrio: Our new project Coordinator

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The knowledgeable Dimitrio Schievenin has joined our team full-time in Brazil and we couldn’t be more pleased. Dimitrio works for the BJF as a project coordinator, organizing and implementing ecological restoration along the corridor. Dimitrio has a Masters in Forest Science from São Paulo State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Forest Engineering from São Carlos Federal University.

Since his undergraduate studies, Dimitrio has worked in several projects focusing on ecological restoration and forest ecology in most Brazilian biomes. He is very well informed about the various plant species that make up the ecosystems along the Araguaia corridor. Since he was a young boy Dimitrio has been interested in forestry and he says that working for the BJF is his dream job. When he was 8 years old, Dimitrio collected seeds in his garden and created his first mini native forest. He planted an eclectic mix of seedling and succeeded in forming his very own micro ecosystem. The BJF is honored to have such a passionate and enthusiastic person working on making our mission a reality.