*Luciano Breves is a wildlife film maker and conservationist, and works on the WLT’s wildlife webcams as a Multimedia Consultant. Luciano is based in Brazil’s Parana State and reports on why landslides are on the increase in Brazil*
The Atlantic Rainforest at REGUA supports the mountainside and prevents flooding and landslides. Photo © Alan Martin
Landslides are not rare in the Atlantic Rainforest. Most of the original forest is on the mountains from north-east to south Brazil and the rain water infiltrates the soil until it reaches the rocks below. When that happens, the *water can loosen the soil from the rock causing part of the mountain to slide.*
Nowadays it is happening more and more often. In 2008 135 people died in a landslide in Blumenau City in South Brazil. In 2010 50 people died in Agra dos Reis – Rio de Janeiro State – in another landslide. In 2010, 229 bodies were removed from under the dirt in a landslide in Niteroi, also in Rio de Janeiro State.
This time it was even worse. The body count is still increasing and more than 750 have died in 4 cities of Rio de Janeiro State; Nova Friburgo, Petrópolis, Teresópolis and Sumidouro. *These cities are all around the** Guapi Assu Reserve (REGUA).*
*Why did the landslides happen?*
I will tell you…. it happened *because there are no more forests on the mountains!* The forest tries to come back but humans continue to cut it down. And why is it important to keep the forests? I will tell you that too…..it is important because the *roots of a full grown forest work as a support system to hold the land* and the plants and soil absorb much of the water.
Today I was asked if I had landslide problems in the area where I live. The answer? No. I didn’t! The forests in my area have been preserved for more than 50 years. We had more rain than Petropolis and Terosópolis and not a single landslide occurred.
Thanks to the great work of World Land Trust (WLT) and REGUA in restoring the forest in the Guapi Assu Reserve, not a single landslide occurred there either and REGUA is right in the middle of all that tragedy.
I feel really sorry for all those people. I really hope that it will open the eyes of the population and the Government to the importance not only of preservation but also of recovering forests.
*How you can help:*
If you have the opportunity to help, please do! Plant a tree or several if you can. If you don’t have space to, then help the World Land Trust by making a donation. You will help preserve and recover forests all around the world as well as their wildlife.