Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Protecting and restoring the Atlantic Forest
The forest will be planted adjacent to the ‘Museu do Amanhã’ designed by famed architect Santiago Calatrava, as an homage to the natural landscape and the geometrical bromeliad plants he loves.
By planting an Atlantic forest on this site we will inspire and educate visitors, and hope to create a learning & healing center for the future generations. The forest allows the local communities to reconnect with their extraordinary cultural heritage of showing the abundance of biodiversity that is rapidly disappearing.
The areas around the museum and wider Guanabara Bay have a rich ecological history still evident in pockets of local forest and larger protected areas such as Tijuca National Park.
Porto Maravilha itself is a cultural touchstone. It’s the birthplace of many creative expressions such as Samba and Jongo.
Forest Maker James Godfrey-Faussett
“Planting a piece of Atlantic Forest in the port region of Rio will not only make our environment healthier and more biodiverse but it is also an act of care for our heritage and future generations. Together with SUGi, we are creating the conditions for Rio to become more generous with other forms of life.”
— Alexandre Fernandes, curator at Museu do Amanhã
The Atlantic Forest
60 million years ago the very first seedling of the Atlantic Forest burst forth. It would be another 20 million years before she would be joined by her sibling the Amazon rainforest.
As is often the case in life, the Atlantic Forest’s exquisite beauty has been it’s downfall. Exploited and pillaged to virtual extinction, now only 7% remains. Remarkably this remaining precious biome is still one of the richest in the world in terms of vibrant biodiversity.
One in twelve of all species on the planet can be found in the remaining Atlantic Forest and more than 52% of the tree species and 92% of the amphibians in the forest can be found nowhere else in our world.
Stand still for a moment in this majestic forest and you will be surrounded by the sound of monkeys, jaguars, bees and, above all, bird song from the 200 multi coloured bird species endemic to the forest.
“WHERE THE SPIRITS BATH”
in Guaraní language.
This is the name the indigineous Guaraní peoples gave to the Mata Atlântica (Atlantic Forest).
Atlantic Forest — Species List
The Brazilian Fire Tree — Schizolobium parahyba
The Brazilian name for this tree is Guapuruvu. A legend says that Guapuruvu was a warrior who was attracted by a golden light in the forest. There he found a beautiful woman near a river. She was the guardian Goddess of the forest, and they fell deeply in love. At the end of his life, she transformed him into a big and beautiful tree so he could stand eternally at the riverside,where they used to meet.
Yerba Mate Tree — Ilex paraguariensis
A member of the Holy family, the leaves of this tree are used to prepare a healing drink known as Mate or Chimarrão. There is a beautiful legend that says that when the Goddess of the Moon and the Goddess of the Clouds came to Earth, a jaguar waited to attack them. They were saved by an old man and in appreciation the Goddesses gave him a plant from which he could prepare a drink of friendship - Yerba Mate.
Arara Nut — Joannesia princeps
Thefruit of the Arara Nut tree looks like a little coconut, and contains a few seeds. The existence of this tree depends exclusively on one animal only. A small rodent, named dasyprocta agouti, who only eats a few of the seeds inside the nut and then buries the rest. Popular belief says the agouti intends to save the nuts for later, but forgets where they are stored, hence a young arara nut tree is born.
Jequitiba Tree — Cariniana legalis
This tree is among the biggest trees in the Atlantic Rainforest, and is known in Brazil as Jequitibá, which means ‘giant of the forest’ in the indigenous Tupi language. This majestic tree houses a large number of plant species and animals and is a favourite of the many coloured hummingbirds. Albert Einstein was said to of embraced the first Jequitiba he saw after being told of the properties of this noble tree.
Quaresmeira Tree — Tibouchina granulosa
Also known as Lent this beautiful is said to represent unconditional love and is popularly associated with healing and mystical powers. In some cultures the Quaresmeira is attributed with the power of magical enchantment. It is also a popular medicine used to treat infections and the essence of the flowers is said to release strength, vitality and energy.
Yellow Ipe — Handroanthus sp.
The name Ipe, of Tupi origin, means thick barked tree and the stunning yellow blooms are considered the national flower.Ipe has always been a favourite of poets and songwriters, often being portrayed as a main character in regional songs. The healing power of Ipe is highly recognised and the vibrant yellow flowers are said to bring power and mobilise internal healing energies. It is even said, closing one’s eyes and imagining a yellow Ipe helps to heal body and soul.
Jacarandá —Jacaranda sp
Just before blooming the Jacaranda tree loses almost all its leaves. When the flowers fall, the tree restores it’s foliage and a new cycle begins.
The Jacaranda is associated with rebirth and the magic of spring. In some countries the tree is associated with wisdom and therefore planted in schools and universities. Legend says if a Jacaranda flower falls on your head, it will bring you good luck!2007). Because the rose hips remain on the plant throughout the winter, they provide food for wildlife during times when little forage is available.