Empowering tree nurseries to grow threatened species in southern Brazil

Paula de Freitas Larocca

The Araucaria Forest in Brazil contains more than 350 different tree species. It is one of the most threatened ecosystems within the South American Atlantic Forest – if not the world – with less than 0.8% of primary forest remaining. As a result, many tree species of this ecosystem are highly threatened and need to be re-established in the remaining fragments to promote their long-term survival. Only 17% of the ecosystem’s 40 threatened tree species are produced in state nurseries, meaning that most threatened species are not included in local restoration projects. The main reasons for this are lack of known seed sources, and lack of knowledge on germination and grow requirements for these species. Thus, the overall goal of this proposal is to enable government nurseries (major producers of seedlings for restoration) to grow threatened species and to implement seed orchards as a tool to ex situ conservation. The main objectives are: 1) To encourage local nurseries to grow threatened species from the Araucaria Forest; 2) To ensure that nurseries have the skills and knowledge needed to grow threatened species improving their production level; and 3) To create seed orchards of threatened species as a tool to ex situ conservation.