To spread knowledge about the restinga scrub forest ecosystem in São João da Barra and highlight environmental preservation actions carried out in the region are some of the goals of the book titled “O Tempo e a Restinga” (“Time and Restinga”), to be launched today at Carlos Martins Culture Palace, in São João da Barra. Sponsored by Prumo, the developer and manager of Açu Port, the book was coordinated by Maria das Graças Machado Freire and Vicente Mussi-Dias, who are professors at ISECENSA (Censa Institutes of Higher Learning), at Campos dos Goytacazes, and includes among its authors forest engineer Daniel Ferreira do Nascimento and photography expert Geisa Márcia Barcellos de Siqueira.
“O Tempo e a Restinga” is the first book to describe plant species that grow in São João da Barra restinga forests. It highlights preservation actions carried out in the region, including Private Nature Reserve (RPPN) Fazenda Caruara, which was voluntarily created and is maintained by Prumo in the surrounding area of Açu Port.
“The book remembers what the restinga used to be and its current importance for the region. It is the first document to bring together past and present and future prospects, inviting readers to learn and preserve this ecosystem. It was built on four pillars: a nostalgic pillar, showing the area’s past; the environmental pillar, about protection, preservation and recovery of restinga; a scientific pillar, with biodiversity studies; and a sensation pillar, with restinga photographs,” said Professor Mussi-Dias.
The book has four chapters. The first one, titled “The Song of the Wind”, addresses the relationship between the people and the restinga ecosystem and the work developed in the São João da Barra region. The second chapter, named “Letters to the Restinga”, has witness reports that transport readers to the nostalgic effects of this environment for some who lived in the region. The third chapter highlights the importance of environmental preservation with initiatives adopted in the region, emphasizing the creation of RPPN Fazenda Caruara. “Colors and Smells”, the fourth and final chapter, presents and describes 38 plant species that grow in the São João da Barra restinga.
“The creation of RPPN Fazenda Caruara, enabling the preservation of one of the most important reminiscences of restinga in the Northern part of Rio de Janeiro state, is one of the actions that we are most proud of. Additionally, we created a single plant nursery dedicated to the restinga ecosystem, with capacity to produce 500 thousand seedlings per year. These two actions, in addition to allowing the reserve to recover, also generate recognition, contributing to the discovery of new techniques that may be applied to restingas all over the country,” said Eduardo Xavier, Prumo Regulation and Sustainability Director.
A photo exhibit focused on the São João da Barra restinga will open along with the book launch. A total of 20 photographs will be displayed at the Culture Palace for visitation until March 18.
RPPN Fazenda Caruara
With an area of approximately 40 km², Private Nature Reserve – RPPN Fazenda Caruara is the largest private restinga preservation unit in the country and the only one in Rio de Janeiro state that protects this type of ecosystem. Its area equals about 60% of all private reserves created by the state.
RRPN Fazenda Caruara carries out plant re-composition work and monitoring of local vegetation and fauna, employing about 40 people who live in the region. All seedlings planted at the RPPN are produced in a nursery installed at Açu Port. The nursery is dedicated to restinga species and has capacity to produce up to 500 thousand seedlings per year, being the largest in Latin America.
The nursery currently produces and handles more than 70 restinga species, and more than 700 thousand seedlings were already produced and planted at the RPPN. Some are endangered species (according to MMA decrees nº 443/14 and nº 444/14), such as Jacquinia armilaris, Inga maritima and Melanopsidium nigrum.
In addition to its environmental relevance, the creation of RPPN Fazenda Caruara allowed the city of São João da Barra to collect a sustainability tax known as ICMS Verde. During 2014, the city received 1,524,531 reais related to the sustainability tax.