Atlantic Rain Forest
Once, the 'Mata Atlântica', the Atlantic Forest, covered the majority of the Brazilian coast; today, however, it is reduced to less than 8% of its original extension, reflecting mainly the explosive urbanization and the slash and burn agriculture of the 20th Century. These days, in some regions, the forest is gaining space agian, but its biodiversity is considerably reduced. In order to protect the forest in its integrality, it is important, on the one hand, to preserve the primary forest – where it still exists – and, on the other hand, to process planified reforestation.
The objective of this project is to implement a Conservation Unit in the category RPPN “Particular Natural Heritage Reserve” on the ÇaraKura site, in order to ensure the preservation of the biodiversity of this portion of the threatened Atlantic Forest biome. Differnt University research groups and faculties are supporting the institute in this process. The legal and bureaucratic process is for instance carried out by the GPDA, a research group from the Environmental Law Section of the Federal University of Santa Catarina.
Conservation Unit Itapema
The institute is as well working on the implementation of a RPPN Conservation Unit in the municipality of Itapema. This zone, in the south of the Island of Santa Catarina, contains Atlantic rain forest,as well as one of the few remaining unspoilt beaches of Santa. The development of the Protection Unit is based on extensive socio-environmental, political and economic research, the involvement of various departments of the Federal University of Santa Catarina, and on the realization of Environmental Education programs and community workshops. The latter are organized by the ÇaraKura Institute and the Neamb, the Center for Environmental Education of the University of Santa Catarina, and aim to bring the empowerment of the community to preserve the area
Palmheart Extraction – "The Treasure of the Atlantic forest"
The main objective of this project is to address the issue of illegal palm heart extraction. The palm heart is removed from the Euterpe edullis palm tree, popularly known as Juçara, an endangered species. A team from the ÇaraKura Institute regularly visits properties with Juçara palms and collects the ripe bunches. A tasty and nutritious juice, called acaí, can be produced with its fruits. The team provides this juice for free in public places or schools, whereas the seeds are used for the planting and the reintroduction of the species. The idea is to spread the use of the fruits as food, rather than the extraction of palm hearts, requiring to chop down and thus kill the tree. The ÇaraKura Institute tends to also extend this practice to other areas where the species is threatened.