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Ecological Restoration vs. Reforestation: Understand the difference!

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Reforestation is a generic term for replanting trees in a specific area with various goals, including (ecological) restoration. The restoration concept relates to a more complex and essential process that “assists the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged or destroyed” (SER, Society for Ecological Restoration).

Ecological restoration and reforestation are terms that we use often, which can sometimes be understood to mean the same thing. In the video below, Dimitrio Schievenin (BJF Project Coordinator), explains the difference between both terms and why this is so important!

In the case of a forest, we can say that planting trees or seeds is the fundamental step to bring a degraded area closer to its original state. A newly planted forest creates the ideal conditions that both prevent invasive species from taking over and encourage a diverse set of species to flourish in a degraded area, allowing the rebirth of ecosystem dynamics and services.

Therefore, conceptually speaking, it is correct to assume that the BJF, along with its technical partners, is developing a reforestation endeavour with ecological restoration purposes along the Araguaia Biodiversity Corridor, by planting the correct mix of indigenous trees and accelerate nature’s process of regeneration. Nevertheless, it is more complex than this, so keep reading for a better understanding of both terms!


Reforestation involves bringing back any forest that has been degraded. Nevertheless, this can be done without considering species composition or the functionality of the ecosystem. We could, for instance, reforest a region using only one species of tree, and would not have to try and restore the biome to what it once was.

Ecological restoration goes beyond this – accounting for the conservation of biodiversity, species composition, and the restoration of the degraded ecosystem to its original conditions as much as possible. The goal is to bring back the fauna and flora living in the region by bringing back their ways of sustaining themselves.

Therefore, even though it is possible to carry our ecological restoration through reforestation, reforestation does not have to encompass all the steps needed for ecological restoration.


Another important aspect to consider is that ecological restoration also involves restoring non-forest ecosystems – including savannas and grasslands. At the Black Jaguar Foundation, for example, we work with the restoration of the Amazon rainforest and the Cerrado, which is known for being the savanna with the greatest biodiversity in the world.

Ecological restoration is a lot more than planting trees. To conduct it, one needs in-depth knowledge of the biome’s native tree species, to enable a favourable environment for biodiversity to return.


Seeing the natural regeneration of native species and return of animals to our restoration sites is one of the best signs that our ecological restoration efforts are working.

It shows that we are restoring the conditions needed for life to exist in harmony in their natural habitat. Watch the vídeo below where our Field Coordinator, Carlos Eduardo Oliveira, further explains this restoration technique!

To carry out our ecological restoration activities efficiently and thoroughly, we developed the BJF Restoration Cycle, which consists of 17 different steps!

Your support has been crucial in all of this. Would you like to know more about how you can support the Araguaia Biodiversity Corridor?

Donate trees HERE or join the First 600 HERE!

Continuing operations in 12 partner farms!

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We are continuing our restoration efforts at full speed in 12 partner farms!  

At the start of the month, we started operations in one of our largest restoration sites so far. The restoration area is located a bit further from the centre of Santana do Araguaia than our other registration sites and our field team has done their best to improve logistical operations and facilitate access to the farm. Despite the challenges, we are planting as much as possible during this rainy season.  

Given the distance of this recently operational site from our other areas, we built lodging facilities to keep our team from having to travel for extended periods of time after their workday. After the team settled down in their new temporary home, we started the ecological restoration!   

 During the first few weeks, we already improved access to the farm and prepared the soil in the first restoration site – which consists of 8 polygons! This involved removing invasive grasses to allow for natural regeneration and will soon start making holes in the ground for direct seeding! 

Have a look at our team starting operations in one of our largest restoration sites so far:

Direct seeding is the restoration technique that will be used in the restoration site pictured above. Together with our team of analysts and nursery workers, our seed production analyst, Laís D’Isep, mixed the seeds that will be planted, and these will soon be transported to the site.

As you can see, our ecological restoration activities require a lot of planning and logistics. This is yet another reason as to why we need your support more than ever!

Contribute to the Araguaia Biodiversity Corridor by donating trees HERE or joining the First 600 Sponsors HERE

The BJF Nursery at high capacity!

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First and foremost, a big round of applause to our nursery team, who successfully produced more than the expected 500,000 seedlings for our current planting season! Impressive, right? In spite of all the challenges we had to overcome, we exceeded expectations.

We are very happy with what the BJF Nursery has become. It motivates us to see that our nursery is already providing many local job opportunities, and successfully producing healthy seedlings.

This is a huge milestone that has only been possible with your support! The nursery also includes space for workshops and environmental education, and is already becoming a central hub for ecological restoration along the Araguaia biodiversity corridor.

Have a look at our fully operational tree nursery:
Have a look at how our nursery area looked prior to construction two years ago: 

Thanks to your support, we surpassed expectations last year! Keep reading to have a better understanding of how our nursery works.

Inside nursery and outside nursery

It all starts with a seed, many of which are bought from the Araguaia Seed Network! This seed is then cleaned to prevent any pathogens from affecting the seedling. Simultaneously, the substrate which will receive the seed is prepared and added to tubes that will hold the seedling. 

We have two nurseries: an inside nursery and an outside nursery. Once the tubes are ready and full of substrate, they are taken to our inside nursery, a covered space that protects the seedling from excessive sunlight. Here, they are able to grow in more controlled conditions. After developing in the inside nursery, the seedlings are taken to the outside nursery. This is an open area where the seedling is exposed to conditions similar to those of the field and can become resilient.

In the video below, seedling production analyst, Norivania Diniz, explains the structure of our inside and outside nurseries:

Thank you for your continued support, enabling us to reach such incredible milestones! Contribute to the Araguaia Biodiversity Corridor by donating trees HERE or joining the First 600 Sponsors HERE

Get to know the faces behind the Araguaia Seed Network!

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We are incredibly proud of the Black Jaguar Foundation’s Araguaia Seed Network. What started as a means of providing seeds for our project of ecological restoration is now making a real difference for communities living in the Araguaia region!

Last year, our field team started training sessions for communities living in settlements in the Araguaia region. They have visited many different settlements, providing training sessions and technical equipment, to incentivise individuals to become a part of our project. Each time they visit a community, they bring back new stories. So today, we thought to share some of these stories with you – starting with Mrs. Eunice and Mr. Pedro.

Mrs. Eunice and Mr. Pedro belong to a river community in the Araguaia region and grow casava in their plantation to produce mandioca flour. Nevertheless, as Ms. Eunice put it in the video above, she believes that:

 “planting casava and Building plantations is not the future. For our future it would be better to plant and collect the seeds so we can reforest this whole world”.  

She explains that producing casava flour takes a lot of work and does not generate as much income as collecting seeds does. Further, Eunice expresses a real desire to restore the ecosystems around her: 

For a long time, I have wanted to reforest and did not manage. But now with the support of these people – we will get there – together!”

We are very happy to have such dedicated individuals working with us to realize the Araguaia Biodiversity Corridor. The Araguaia Seed Network’s goal is not just to purchase seeds and use them for planting – it is also to value and positively influence the lives of our community of seed collectors!

Collecting seeds is a continuous activity that forces people to interact with each other and with nature. Every encounter brings with it something new, and we are grateful for the opportunity to engage in these wonderful exchanges!

Expanding the list of seeds we purchase

The BJF team is currently working to expand the list of seeds we are purchasing for ecological restoration. We do this by speaking to our seed collectors, seeing which native seeds they can find most easily, and checking whether these are adaptable for flooded areas and other harsh conditions that categorize our restoration sites.

One of the new species that we have recently started collecting is Cafezinho. The picture below shows Dona Izabel e Dioclessio, two members of the Araguaia Seed Network who live in a settlement in Ipiracema, Caseara. They own a plot of land in the region where they grow casava and herd cattle and have been collecting seeds for five months. In their hands, you can see a bag of Cafezinho seeds! They explained to us that though collecting seeds can take up to a whole afternoon, it is worth it – for themselves and our planet.

We are incredibly proud of the community of seed collectors that has formed under the Araguaia Seed Network. A big round of applause for all their achievements so far! Have a look at one of these below – their graduation for our training sessions on seed collection, taught by BJF Seed production analyst Lais D’Ísep.

Thank you for your continued support, enabling us to develop our Araguaia Seed Collective! Contribute to the Araguaia Biodiversity Corridor by donating trees HERE or joining the First 600 Sponsors HERE

Presenting the BJF to the Federal Institute of Para’s students!

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The young generation is our future! A few weeks ago, we to presented our project to the Federal Institute of Pará’s (IFPA),  future environmental and agricultural, in Santana do Araguaia!

Our field team organized two sessions for the students to get to know the Black Jaguar Foundation, including a practical experience producing seedlings in the BJF nursery! Prior to this, our team visited students at the university and provided a general introduction to the Araguaia Biodiversity Corridor and how we are realizing it – from rural partnerships to our processes of ecological restoration.

During the first session, students also had the opportunity to speak to our human resources sector, clarify any doubts, and receive a general overview of job opportunities at the Black Jaguar Foundation.

The second session took place in the following day, where we organized a practical overview of seed production in the BJF Nursery. Out Seedling production analyst, Norivania Diniz, welcomed the students in our nursery, showed them all the main activities of the BJF nursery, and put everyone to work!

Throughout all activities involving seeds and seedlings, the future environmental and agricultural engineers showed great interest in becoming a part of our project. It makes us very happy to see this and we hope to work with some of these wonderful minds in the future.

 Contribute to the Araguaia Biodiversity Corridor by donating trees HERE or joining the First 600 Sponsors HERE

Have a look at the BJF planting season!

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With 2023 now fully in motion, we would like to share with you some of the planting action that is happening on the ground.

Watch the video below to meet our field team and have a brief overview of the Black Jaguar Foundation’s planting season!

Over the years, we have significantly expanded our team, which now includes over 135 people directly employed and another 35 indirectly employed by the BJF. We have also improved our ecological restoration techniques, created our very own Araguaia Seed Network, and built a BJF nursery that produces over 500,000 seedlings every year.

Together, we are creating a healthier planet for our future generations. 

Get involved to Preserve our Planet!

We are at the peak of the 22/23 planting season!

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After preparing the soil in most of our partner farms, the time has come to intensify planting in our restoration sites!

Since October, our team has been working hard to reach this moment. Soil preparation is a very important stage in the BJF cycle of ecological restoration. Invasive grasses in the restoration sites must be removed to prevent these from competing with the seedling and enable healthy trees to grow.

It is vital for the soil to be in ideal conditions for the planting of seedlings and direct seeding – which will be the focus of our operations for the next few months!

A closer look at what is happening on the ground…

The pictures above show semi-mechanized tree planting, a technique used to facilitate and speed up the process of ecological restoration. This is a technique that we have recently started using in our restoration sites at the Anaja farm.

Ecological restoration in our other partner farms

In all of our other active restoration sites, the BJF team has been very busy preparing the soil and digging many different holes, spaced at 2 meters apart on all sides, that are eagerly waiting for trees to be planted!

Given the rainy season, many of our restoration sites have flooded and the BJF team is focusing on carrying out ecological restoration in areas that are still dry first. The reason for this is that these areas will still receive rain, so we can save flooded areas for when we are closer to the dry season.

Watch our Field Operations Coordinator Tainan Balestrin explain the work being done on the ground in the video below:

Direct seeding is often used by our field team. The process consists of placing seeds of different species directly in the soil. Have a look at direct seeding in one of our partner farms below. You can already see some growing jatobá seedlings after just four weeks of sowing!

Before direct seeding can take place, the seeds have to be mixed. This mixture is what we call muvuca. Recently, our team prepared over 3 tons of muvuca – with more than 50 species of native seeds! Have a look at them below:

As we often say here at the BJF, ecological restoration is a lot more than planting trees. At the same time, we are also carrying out maintenance activities in our restored restored areas and already planning for the next planting season!

Araguaia Seed Network: achievements and future steps!

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Over the past year, our team has worked hard to make the Araguaia Seed Network a reality! There were months of planning, preparation and production of materials so that our Seed Production Analyst, Laís D’Isep, could visit communities, engage the local population, carry out training and, finally, start buying the collected native seeds.

We are very proud of our achievements so far! In just three months of purchasing seeds, we concluded 2022 with:

These excellent results surprised us and have already contributed to this planting season: the seeds collected by the Araguaia Seed Network were fundamental in the production of seedlings in our nursery and in the preparation of muvuca for direct seeding!

In 2023, we want to grow even more! This month we started the last training sessions for the module and we are planning several actions and meetings to make the Araguaia Seed Network the main supplier of native seeds to the Araguaia Biodiversity Corridor. Have a look at some of our seed collectors participating practical training below:

We are very proud of the Araguaia Seed Network and the environmental and socioeconomic development that it is generating. Would you like to contribute to this initiative? Join the First 600 HERE or reach out to us at

BJF participates in training to take better care of our seedlings!

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Our seedling production analyst, Norivânia Diniz, was invited to participate in the second Integrated Academic Week organized by the Federal University of Tocantins!

During the event, Norivânia participated in several courses related to seed collection, recovery of degraded areas, legal aspects of Permanent Preservation Areas (APP) and forest seed pathology.

Course 1: Collecting, processing and storing native seeds from the Cerrado Savanna.

The following topics were explored in the course:

  • Permanent Preservation Areas (APPs) and Legal Reserves (RLs): the importance of ecologically restoring degraded areas how this relates to Brazilian law.
  • Ecological restoration techniques, including the following three methods which are used by the Black Jaguar Foundation: Natural regeneration, planting seedlings and direct seeding (muvuca).
  • Seed collection techniques: locating parent trees, collection methods, types of seed processing, breaking dormancy of seeds, and seed storage.

At the end of the course, Norivânia and the other participants visited one of the University’s tree nurseries. There, the class was able to get to know the space, equipment used, how it operates, and Exchange experiences.

The course was taught by students from the The Federal University of Tocantins’ nursery research group. It was made possible by the university’s agricultural residency program in partnership with Santana do Araguaia’s Ministry of Environment. A big thank you for the wonderful opportunity!

The nursery research group is currently starting a seed network in the South of Tocantins to meet the demand for seeds in the region and produce high-quality seedlings.

Course 2: Forest seed pathology

The following topics were explored in the course:

  • Importance of seed health.
  • Transporting seeds between regions.
  • The difficulty of obtaining high-quality seeds.
  • How the presence of pathogens affects the ability of seeds to germinate.
  • Parts of the seed which can contain fungi and how prevent/ control this.
  • Symptoms that appear after the seed has been affected by pathogens.
  • Regulations for Seed Analysis (RAS), as published by the Ministry of Agriculture.
  • Main methods for detecting pathogens in seeds.
  • Most common fungi that can be present in seeds

At the Black Jaguar Foundation, we are always looking to improve our processes of ecological restoration. Our motivation to keep on growing and learning, together with your support, will enable us to carry out the Araguaia Biodiversity Corridor!

BJF presents at the NOAH conference in Zurich

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The 1st edition of the project stage took place during the NOAH Conference in Zurich last month, with 1500 attendees, 350 speakers and 24 partners. All in all, it provided the Black Jaguar Foundation with a wonderful platform to showcase the Araguaia Biodiversity Corridor and learn from similar organisations working in the field of ecological restoration.

The project stage took place over the course of two days, and with this item we would like to give you a glimpse of the second day, where  Ben Valks explained our how the Black Jaguar Foundation will plant 1,7 billion native trees in the Amazon Rainforest and Cerrado Savanna over the course of 30 years.

A big thank you to the team for all their hard work and commitment to making the project stage a success and giving us the opportunity to share our work at the project stage and get together with restoration and conservation champions, tech companies, and impact investors.

To effectively tackle the great sustainability challenges of our time, we must come together and cut through silos and sectors. It was great to share our efforts and exchange with others on the frontlines of conservation and restoration.

Coming together with a collective call to action for funding and supporting nature-based solutions was urgent and necessary.

Watch Ben’s presentation below:

In Ben’s speech, he emphasizes the there is no competition when it comes to ecological restoration. With time, we hope more and more Biodiversity Corridors will appear on Earth, helping us create a more sustainable planet for our future generations! Would you like to become one of the First 600 to join us on our mission of hope and action? You can do so HERE or donate a native tree HERE.