Restoring Habitat at REGUA, Atlantic Rainforest, Brazil


LOCATION: Upper Guapiaçu River basin, 80 km northeast of Rio de Janeiro

SIZE: 6,500 acres

KEY SPECIES:  Wooly Spider Monkey, Puma, Red-billed Currasow

HABITAT: Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest

THREATS: Forest clearing, hunting

ACTION: Purchase an additional 2,450 acres to extend the boundaries of the reserve


FINANCIAL NEED: Ongoing support to help protect the areas and support ongoing land purchase

Wooly Spider Monkey
Atlantic Rainforest Brazil
Male Red-billed Crassow

REGUA (Reserva Ecologica de Guapi Assu) is located in eastern Brazil and protects one of the last stands of tropical rainforest left in the severely depleted Atlantic Rainforest (Mata Atlantica) in Brazil. REGUA is home to at least 420 species of birds of which 120 are endemic to the coastal Atlantic Rainforest biome. As yet little is known about REGUA’s other fauna and flora. There are projects underway to create a comprehensive inventory using simple, inexpensive field methods such as pit falls, camera traps, mist nets, transects, and direct observation. Special attention is given to the larger mammals in the Reserve such as the woolly spider monkey and puma. A regular monitoring program is also being established to learn more about the distribution and abundance of some of the species found using staff, volunteers, and university students.

The São José farm at REGUA once held a large lowland wetland with its own special trees, orchids, and bromeliads. It was cut, drained, and turned into pasture 30 years ago. REGUA is now restoring this habitat along with the surrounding 60 acres of degenerated pasture. One large wetland area overlooked by the lodge was created this summer, and a further dam is in the process of completion which will re-flood another. It is planned to use this restoration work as a showcase for the general public and local schools to demonstrate the importance of habitat management and the wildlife that exists in the area.

REGUA has created a nursery using seeds collected locally, and these provide the seedlings for the reforestation program. In the last two years more than 16,000 trees have been planted.

REGUA is also keen to reintroduce some of the species that have been lost over the previous decades due to hunting. Plans are already in progress to reintroduce the Red-billed Currasow, the Black-fronted Piping Guan, and three species of tinamous. The wild population for the Red-billed Currasow is thought to be down to less than 650 individuals, and it is hoped that by releasing it at REGUA we will attract additional visitors as well as create local interest and pride in the project. Reintroductions of mammals such as golden-lion tamarin, red brocket deer, and even tapir might be possible in the future when we can be certain that a large enough area is secure from hunting.

Map of the Project Area

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