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Nature Canada’s Work in Brazil: Protecting Endangered Species


Starting in 2008, Nature Canada began working together with Vale INCO Ltd and SAVE Brasil to support conservation efforts on the ground in the Mata Atlântica (Atlantic Rain Forest) at Boa Nova in the Bahia State of Brazil.

‘SAVE Brasil’, Nature Canada’s Brazilian partner, has been engaged in a major campaign to conserve the Mata Atlântica and other key ecosystems in Brazil by focusing important efforts on threatened species, Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs), and supporting local communities interested in living more sustainably.

The Project

The Boa Nova project of SAVE Brasil has made a significant difference on the ground, but also with local governments and policy makers. It has included three main thrusts:

  1. Outreach and awareness building activities with the objective of promoting a strong appreciation and respect for the forests at risk in adjacent communities and heightened awareness of the threatened species that depend upon these habitats;
  2. Working closely with land-owners to register their properties as ecological reserves; and
  3. Development of stewardship, policy and legal tools to encourage land-owners to conserve their forests.

Important Successes Include:

  • 24 landowners have started the land registration process for their lands as Legal Reserves
  • Numerous outreach and awareness building activities have been held in communities in Boa Nova, from public seminars to cultural events and educational outings
  • Three properties have been registered by SAVE Brasil to initiate the process of Private Natural Reserves registration
  • Ecological restoration activities have been undertaken in key areas involving local groups
  • As a direct result of SAVE Brasil’s interventions, important environmental legislation related to Legal Reserves, Private Natural Reserves and natural areas restoration is being modified and strengthened to make the Nature Reserve Registry process more accessible.
Image in Boa Nova

Restoration activity in Boa Nova. © SAVE Brasil


Canadian Birds in Brazil:

It is estimated that approximately 200 million birds from Canada’s boreal region alone spend part of their non-breeding season in Brazil, making it the third most important country after the United States and Mexico for Canadian-born species. Brazil’s extensive wetlands and coastline are home to millions of shorebirds, many of which have severely declining populations. For example, in the state of Maranhao, northern Brazil, 327,000 Nearctic shorebirds were found in coastal surveys conducted by the Canadian Wildlife Service including 54% of all Black-bellied Plovers counted in South America, 72.5% of all Ruddy Turnstones, 49.3% of all Willets, and 43.7% of all Whimbrels.

In addition to shorebirds, Brazil is an important non-breeding area for Swainson’s Hawk, and many songbirds including Bobolink, Veery, Swainson’s Thrush, Canada Warbler, Black-pole Warbler, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Common Nighthawk and Purple Martin to name some.
Nature Canada and SAVE Brasil are grateful for the financial support that Vale INCO Ltd has provided to make this project possible. Nature Canada will continue to support conservation efforts that make a difference to protect birds and their habitats through their flyways.

Itagi Whimbrels


Our conservation efforts in Brazil were made possible with the generous support of Nature Canada members and the Canadian International Development Agency.

Read more about Nature Canada’s other international conservation efforts here.

Quick facts:

Flag of BrazilCountry name (full): Federative Republic of Brazil / República Federativa do BrasilCapital: BrasíliaOfficial language(s): PortugueseTotal area: 8,515,767 km2Population: over 200 million

Atlantic Forest (Mata Atlântica) of Brazil

Atlantic Forest BrazilPhoto © 2001 by J. Danoff-Burg, T. Kittel, and A. Hoylman

The Atlantic Forest of Brazil (Mata Atlântica) is mostly located on the south-east coast of Brazil, from Rio Grande do Norte to the border with Uruguay. Historically, this coast was covered by the Atlantic Forest, one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet. Today it is one of the most threatened ecosystems on earth with the highest number of globally threatened species of birds on the planet.   Of the 181 endemic bird species, 60 are considered globally threatened and a similar number near threatened. As little as 8% of the original forest remains.

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