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restoring the Atlantic Forest and supporting local farmers

Forests 4 Water

Protecting Water Sources

through reforestation

We all know that the current state of the environment is nothing less than critical. Issues such as climate change, deforestation, and generation of huge amounts of waste are ever present in the media, and many of us are working on ways of dealing with them before it’s too late.

The issue is so urgent that what used to be called global warming is now considered as a climate crisis. And if nations don’t honor their commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 45% before 2030, global warming will exceed 1.5 degrees Centigrade by the end of the century (IPCC – 2018). If this happens there will be irreversible damage to the environment, with dire consequences to our lifestyles.


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Fortunately, there is still time to reverse this trend, and one of the most efficient and cost effective ways of doing so is through ecological restoration, or reforestation. If we are to diminish the level of carbon emissions which are so dangerous to life on earth, we need to plant 900 million trees by 2050. It has been amply proven that reforestation is the most efficient and quickest way of rebalancing our environment – trees sequester and store carbon, create wildlife habitat, regulate hydrology, and provide many more ecosystem services. With all these benefits trees provide, it’s vital that we get to work, the sooner the better.

In Brazil, as in other countries, one of the effects of the climate crisis is shortage of water, directly affecting the lives of 46 million people. Continued deforestation along with this water shortage will result in an ever deteriorating situation. Research reveals the loss of vegetation cover in 2020: 20% of the Amazon forest, 45% of the dry forest, 50% of the savanna and 93% of the Atlantic Forest – along with the extraordinary biodiversity in each biome. We need to take action immediately.

This is why we have come up with audacious goal of planting 1,000,000 trees by 2030. 

The Challenge

Part of the remaining 13% of Atlantic Forest is in the Serra do Brigadeiro State Park, located at the northern end of the Mantiqueira mountain range in the state of Minas Gerais. It’s an area of extraordinary biodiversity that shelters large numbers of endemic and endangered species and is one of the most important conservation areas of the state. It also acts as a water pump which feeds into the river basins of the Paraíba do Sul and the Rio Doce.

The river basin of the Muriaé river – which flows into the Paraíba do Sul – covers an area of 8.200 km², including 26 counties, (19 in the state of Minas Gerais and 7 in Rio de Janeiro). Yet only 4.3% of this area is under forest cover. This results in rapid rainwater runoff which, instead of infiltrating the soil and feeding into the water table, leads to a cycle of flooding and erosion.

The challenge is to reverse the impacts caused by the loss of vegetation cover in this river basin, in order to put a stop to the problem of water shortage and springs that fail during the dry season. This affects the lives of everything that relies on water: plants, animals and people.

Loading up baby trees
Volunteer tree planter

What can we do?

Without trees there is no water, and without water there is no life. So if we plant trees, we plant water. It’s a joint effort, Iracambi and local communities, working together to attack the problem at its root. At the Iracambi Forest Nursery we grow tree seedlings to be planted on hillside water catchment areas and along the river banks on family farms in the region. In this way, rainwater runoff is minimized, vegetation cover is increased, and water resources are protected and restored.

The Project

Here’s where Forests4Water comes in. Our flagship project consists of ecological restoration on local farms in the watershed, as well as  joining isolated forest fragments through building forest corridors. We offer tree seedlings, advice on organic fertilizers, and help with planting and monitoring the tree for the first 2 years, and we’ve recently started a program of on-farm forest nurseries. As environmental awareness grows and demand for forest restoration increases, we at Iracambi are stepping up our efforts to plant more trees in fulfilment of our mission of Saving Forests and Changing Lives. So far, we’ve planted over 160,000 seedlings, but that’s not nearly enough. If we’re to save the planet we need to do a lot better. We are pledged to plant 50,000 trees in 2023 an additional 75,000 in 2024, and a total of one million trees by 2030.

Our Partners

Forests4Water has worked with a number of wonderful corporate partners over the years. Our most recent support has come from corporate partners Servicenow, McKinsey and Gonewest,  as well as the Brazil Foundation, the Nature Conservancy and the crowdfunding platform GlobalGiving.

If your company is interested in partnering with us on this program, please check our partner’s page  

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Alfredo Matos

Field Coordinator

Program: Natural Resource Management


Make a real difference in the local community and beyond
trees planted
2023 planting goal
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money needed for 2023

FAQs on the project

Most frequent questions and answers and some tech info

Planting trees and planting water: what’s the connection?

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What are our plans for the future?

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Who is involved?

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How can I help?

The standard chunk of Lorem Ipsum used since the 1500s is reproduced below for those interested. Sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 from “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” by Cicero are also reproduced in their exact original form, accompanied by English versions from the 1914 translation



In this area of steep mountain slopes and heavy rains, the presence of trees on the mountain sides breaks up the rainfall, allowing water to infiltrate the soil and replenish the water table. Trees prevent erosion, lessen runoff, and play a vital role in evapotranspiration, in fact 70% of atmospheric moisture comes from plants!

Forests4Water is one element of our ambitious goal to restore as much of the Atlantic Rainforest as we can! Other elements include education and research, public policy – working on a scheme of payment for environmental services – GIS mapping, and forest monitoring as part of the future Iracambi Smart Forest (collecting and sharing real time data on forest restoration.) 

It’s an ambitious project involving as many different actors as possible: farm families, schoolchildren, university students, international and Brazilian volunteers, corporate partners, government agencies and funders –  everyone who understands the critical importance of restoring the forests for the benefit of all on this planet.

Make sure you understand the issues – the climate crisis demands urgent action from us all! Support local initiatives, plant trees, double the number you first thought of and then hit our donation button! We promise to look after the young forests. 

Forests 4 Water - Monitoring & Reforestation GIS Data

If you and your company are interested in partnering with us, please read more about our exciting corporate partnership opportunities.