Nick Locke

Nick Locke – REGUA—Reserva Ecológica Guapiaçu: A successful conservation project in the Atlantic rainforest of SE Brazil

Field problem presented: Kim Smith – Breeding Ecology of Early Successional Birds in Western Connecticut

Nicholas Locke is president of the Guapiaçu Ecological Reserve (REGUA), located an hour and a half from the city of Rio de Janeiro. REGUA, a grassroots NGO, started in 1996 after a visit by a UK naturalist who saw the need for protecting forested remnants of the Serra do Mar mountain range within the Atlantic rainforest biome in southeastern Brazil. An assesment at that time revealed 430 bird species, of which 120 species are endemic to the biome, an indication of the value of the habitat. Currently, REGUA administers 6700 hectares, 60% of which belongs to the NGO, and advances a holistic management model integrating protection, education, restoration, research and tourism. Of particular interest is the reintroduction of the Red-billed Curassow and Black-fronted Piping Guan. These activities are seen to support each other and it is this model which is providing much information on the direction for conservation and the potential for self-funding.

In his presentation, Nick describes the experience of managing the project, showing what has been done to protect part of the extraordinary biodiversity of the Brazilian Atlantic rainforest. The presentation covers the history of the reserve area, with photographs dating to the 1920s showing advances in conservation and the problem-solving commitments facing the communities on the edge of this reserve.

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