Fazenda Bom Pastor

The Atlantic rainforest (the Mata Atlântica) has shrunk to 7% of its original size. The remaining relict areas are highly fragmented and mostly smaller than 50 ha. Nevertheless, the Mata Atlântica biome and southern Bahia in particular is a hotspot of biodiversity. The traditional form of agriculture in southern Bahia is the reason why a high level of biodiversity has been preserved despite fragmentation. In the cabrucas, cocoa trees are harvested and cultivated as undergrowth within the original forest; the canopy layer is preserved and provides shade. This form of cultivation has created an interconnected system of primary and secondary forests. Forest-dwelling animal species can use cabrucas as corridors or habitats. The biodiversity of the Mata Atlantica has thus been preserved within the management system. However, due to a lack of profitability, this form of cultivation is in decline and cabrucas are often replaced by cattle pastures or plantations. As a result, the degree of forest cover in southern Bahia is also decreasing and the fragmentation of remaining forests is increasing. Southern Bahia also has the greatest diversity of primate species in the entire Mata Atlântica. The area around Fazenda Bom Pastor, our project area, is one of only two areas where golden-headed lion tamarins (Leontopithecus chrysomelas) can still be found in larger populations. Around 17-20 family groups live in the area, each with between 4 and 12 individuals. As these tamarins can also survive in cabrucas and have a high abundance in our action area, we chose this species as a symbolic animal for the protection of the Mata Atlântica biome, whose conservation in Bahia is linked to the conservation of cabrucas.

The reforestation of Fazenda Bom Pastor as a wildlife corridor is a multi-year project that AMAP started in 2018, after purchasing the farm, to counter the increasing fragmentation of the golden-headed lion tamarin's habitat. When selecting tree species, we are guided by the needs of the golden-headed lion tamarins. Native Mata Atlantica tree species are specifically planted, including key species such as Eriotheca macrophylla, Dialium guianensis and Protium heptaphyllum, which are important as food suppliers or roosting sites for golden-headed lion tamarins. We have started reforestation in the areas with the highest soil moisture, along former streams and depressions. This reduces the mortality rate of the seedlings and improves the regeneration of the water balance. By 2021, we were able to reforest around 46 hectares of former pastureland with around 50,000 seedlings of over 80 native tree species to create a wildlife corridor. The seedlings were supplied by the local tree nursery Instituto Floresta Viva ( 75% of the tree species are fast-growing pioneer species that grow well even under unfavorable weather conditions, such as dry periods, and promote soil regeneration. 25% of the species are secondary and climax species, the actual shade-tolerant forest species. Both succession classes were planted in alternating rows, 2x3m apart. This is a proven planting scheme and is used in many reforestation projects that serve the purpose of renaturation. After reforestation, the reforestation areas are maintained and monitored for approximately four years. The aim is to support the natural succession process and to promote and document regeneration as part of the native Mata Atlântica biome.