João Carlos Ferreira de Melo Júnior

Atlantic Forest: from ecological importance to actions to restore the environment

The atlantic forest, considered one of the most important and threatened groups of ecosystems of the world and with original covering that extends from the state of Rio Grande do Norte to Rio Grande do Sul, sustains the largest biodiversity among the tropical forests, sheltering about 20.000 species of plants distributed in different population densities.
The forest is extremely complex and its dynamics is seated, among other factors, in the interaction of plants and animals. The animals arc responsible for the maintenance of the different species of plants in the ecosystems through its participation in the processes of pollination and dispersion of seeds. Besides this, it presents a great relevance because it maintains nascent and sources, it regulates the flow of the water springs, helps to regulate the climate and temperature, it assures the fertility of the soil and it protects the scarps of the mountain and the hillsides from erosion.
However, historically that forest suffers a continuous degradation process starting from countless men activities transforming vegetated great areas in small discontinuous fragments. That alteration in the landscape launches countless harmful processes to the survival of the organisms that live there, breaking the natural dynamics of that ecosystem and its self-regulation capacity.
In this sense, it is necessary to adopt actions and preventive measures, as well as to recover the degraded areas in forest environments with high diversity based on a meticulous ecological evaluation. To do that, a process of restoration should not be seen as isolated but as part of a landscape with many natural and man-made ecosystems, besides considering the concepts of permeability of the matrix, fragmentation, connectivity of the landscape, biological corridors, gene flow and organisms.
All restoration plan requires a perfect understanding of the peculiarities of the species to be used, so before starting the activity of planting, it should be observed which vegetable species need of special cares considering the sunlight and soil.
Finally, it is relevant to emphasize that the restoration methods should be developed so that their results are close to the original characteristics of the forest, guaranteeing the permanence of biodiversity and the revival of complex ecological relationships relevant to its natural dynamics.