RPPN Caruara, the largest private nature reserve in Rio de Janeiro state and the largest one dedicated to the restinga ecosystem in Brazil, was featured in the 1st Symposium of Conservation Units in Northern Rio de Janeiro and Lakes Region. Caruara, voluntarily created and maintained by the Port of Açu in São João da Barra, was one of eight conservation units invited to the event held yesterday at the Ecology and Social Environmental Development Center in Macaé (NUPEM/UFRJ). The Port of Açu Environment coordinator, Daniel Nascimento, presented the main challenges involved in managing Caruara and addressed its potential and opportunities in research, education and tourism.
“This type of gathering is very productive, encouraging exchanges of experience and insight between managers and researchers from conservation units for all kinds of ecosystems, but who can still share so much,” said Nascimento.
The round-table with Caruara included other coastal protection areas, such as the neighboring Açu Lake State Park, Restinga do Barreto City Park (in Macaé), and Restinga de Jurubatiba National Park (spread between Macaé, Carapebus and Quissamã). The symposium also discussed challenges faced to protect and recover Atlantic Forest areas.
Created in 2012 by the Port of Açu, RPPN Caruara has approximately 4,000 hectares (or about 4,000 soccer fields) and occupies nearly half of the Port Complex’s operational area. Activities involving vegetation re-composition and monitoring of plants and animals are developed there with local labor. About 40 local residents work there at the moment. All seedlings planted in the reserve are produced in a nursery in the enterprise that is dedicated to restinga species and has annual capacity for 500,000 seedlings. The nursery produces and handles 85 species and more than 1 million seedlings have been produced and planted in the reserve. In the protected area, 240 plant and 311 animal species have been identified, some of them listed as threatened with extinction, such as the button cactus (Melocactus violaceus), green-tailed lizard (Ameivula littoralis) and swallowtail butterfly (Parides ascanius).