How to Plant A Tropical Rainforest in the Atlantic Forest Biome


Re-introducing a forest into a deforested area is simpler than you may think, just copy the teachings of nature using the Secondary Succession System and thoroughly manage the entire process with care and dedication. The 3,300 ha (33,000,000 m2) Tijuca National Park, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil considered the largest urban forest in the world, was fully reforested in the 19th century with a workforce of just over 30 people. Since the Tijuca Forest in 1870, several reforestation projects have been extremely successful. Millions and millions of trees have already been planted, covering several acres, interconnected by vegetation corridors, re-introducing forests and ecosystems. At the same time, the Atlantic Forest has a very fast regenerating power, with countless pollinators such as birds, insects and mammals. It just needs a push start.


The Secondary Succession System is a technique that was developed to facilitate the process of planting a forest using several different species from different tree families. This system is nothing more than a way of copying how nature itself acts in the natural restoration of a forest, in which the Primary species settle in first, followed by the Late ones, which often grow in the shadows of the Primary, making it possible for the Climax to establish at the very end of this cycle. There are no precise divisions between the classifications. Primary and Early Secondary overlap, depending on soil and climate conditions, and many species may vary by category.


In a tropical forest, when the tree cover is entirely removed, the soil loses its nutrients rather quickly do to rainfall, and intense sunlight; The forest looses its ability to regenerate spontaneously. There are tree species referred to as Primary that naturally settle in these areas of depleted soil, devoid of nutrients from the lack of a natural canopy cover that provides substrate from its fallen leaves, and from intense sunlight. The Primary species are characterized by fast growing, softwood, early fruiting, and a relatively short life. They are also known as Shaders because they help prepare the field for the late species to grow in their shade. Shaders also help to eliminate the tall grass that needs a lot of sun to flower and to fruit. For a fast shading condition, it is very important that the saplings are planted very close to each other with spacing of only 1.5m to 2.5m (5' to 6.5'). Of all species, those in the Leguminosae family are most important, because they have the ability to fix Nitrogen in the soil through their root system, thus improving soil conditions for all other species from different families planted in the same area. Therefore it is important to give ample preference to Leguminosae, especially in the beginning of planting when the soil is still very poor. Leguminosae are: Leguminosae Papilionoideae (Leg. Pap.), Leguminosae Mimosoideae (Leg. Mim.), And Leguminosae Caesalpinoideae (Leg. Caes.)


Secondary trees are slower-growing trees with generally harder wood, although some can grow quite fast depending on the weather and soil conditions. In theory, the Secondary species grow in the shadow of the Primary, eventually surpassing the Primary in height. The Secondary are divided into two categories, Early Secondary and Late Secondary, and are the species that draw attention in the landscape with magnificent blooms, such as the Ipê, Jacaranda, Sapucaia, Quaresmeira Aangico, Paineira, including most of the palm trees, and this group gracefully embellish our tropical forests, helping feed the fauna, as well as providing some of the trees that produce excellent quality wood, as it is also the case with the six species cited above.


The Climax are very slow growing trees with fine quality hard wood and very long life. These trees are the rarest species in the valley floor, many of which are endangered in the Atlantic Forest, such as Canela (Ocotea odorifera / catharinensis) or Peroba de Campos (Paratecoma peroba), known for providing some of finest woods in the world. Climaxes do not need to be planted early in the project, but some time later, when there is good shading and the soil has substantially recovered. When the formerly deforested area is naturally recomposed, the tendency is for the Pioneers and Early Secondary to 'migrate' to the sunnier regions in the riparian woods, or gallery forest at the forest edges and river banks, helping in the expansion, and growth of the forest. Riparian forests often composed of Pioneer and Early Secondary trees, expand the forest in its limits, facilitating the growth of all other trees in their shade.


Mapping does not necessarily have to be precise or very scientific, and can be a simple, stylized drawing of the top view of an area. Informal as it may be, a map can be important for taking notes of soil changes, fertilization, and be very useful during the maintenance period. Aerial photographs or altimetry maps can also be used for more sophisticated mapping if this data is accessible, depending on the size and complexity of the terrain.


Collect soil samples at two different depths: 0 to 20 cm(0 to 8") and 20 to 40 cm (8" to 16"), always separating them from each other. Use a digger and place the soil samples in a bag removing stones, or twigs. Collect samples from the entire area at a distance of 7m to 10m (23' to 33') between one and the other, depositing all samples in the same bag, always separating the 0 to 20 cm (0 to 8") from the 20 to 40 cm(8" to 16").The more complete the sampling, the more efficient the result.Mix in as much material as needed; 20 kg(45 lb) if needed.If the soil has substantial differences between areas, identify the areas and always separate the samples by identifying the depths.Mix the soil in each bag very well and separate a half - kilo(1 lb) portion of each bag, always identifying the 0 to 20 cm(0 to 8") and the 20 to 40 cm (8" to 16"), taking note of the areas you want to examine separately. Bring the samples to EMBRAPA from your city or state, and then consult an EMATER technician for advise on the type of fertilization and chemical soil balance. Nevertheless, the fertilization tips mentioned here will provide ample improvement in the soil condition of any area.


The Atlantic Forest has the largest variety of tree species of any forest in the world, including the Amazon.Tree variety that is, not plants in general.Native Atlantic Forest seeds or saplings can be purchased at relatively low prices from plant nurseries or universities where there is an agronomy or forestry engineering curriculum, and can be found by searching the internet.Below is the list of native tree species planted in the Projeto Mil Folhas(Thousand Leaves Project) over the past twenty two years.The item Page is for the identification of the many native tree species of the Atlantic Forest in the book BRAZILIAN TREES Vol. 1 and 2(H.Lorenzi / Plantarum which is a great learning tool and the best manual for visualizing, and recognizing different species by their general form, bark, leaves, flowers, and fruit, as well as other essential characteristics. However, according to the late Prof. Paulo Kageyama, the greatest expert in the Atlantic Forest in Brazil, the Secondary Succession data in this book is somewhat lacking in precision.



Collecting seeds for sapling production makes the process very cheap, but some saplings will only be ready for planting in a few months or in as long as a year, meaning, those saplings that sprout in late summer should only be planted in the early summer the following year.Seeds can be planted in nurseries all year round, and the faster the seeds are planted after collection, the greater the chance of germination.Seeds can be collected when the fruit falls to the ground, or harvested from fruit on tree branches, but the fruit must be ripe.Some seeds with a very shiny surface, like a varnish, should be scarified or sanded until opaque, which makes germination much easier.An efficient form of scarification is by using a tin can of powder milk for example, where a sheet of sandpaper is placed inside, facing the center of the can, and where the seeds are placed.Lid up the can, and shake it in a circular motion for a few minutes until the seeds lose their shine, but do not exaggerate.It works really well.

There are many options for sprouting saplings from seeds, such as plastic bags or Styrofoam trays.The bags are made of soft black plastic and come folded in packs of 20 or more.A good size is 18 x 30, or 18 cm wide and 30 cm high(7" wide and 12"tall).Other options are Styrofoam or polyethylene trays with 72 cells, about 12 cm(5") thick (for citrus growing) for it works well for most tree seeds. You can use any container, such as cut up and punctured PET bottles, milk cartons, or Tetra Pak juice boxes, the important thing is to always drill a few holes on the bottom of each recipient to drain the water. Seed planting techniques are sometimes tricky, but for most Primary and Secondary species, just cover the seed with 3 to 5 mm (1/8 to 1/4 ") of top soil, always keeping it moist without soaking too much, placing them in a cool, shaded area until emergence occurs.

As soon as the plants emerge and reach a size of about 5 to 6 cm(2"to 2.5"), you can move them to a semi - shaded area that can be a 50 % Sombrite(a black plastic net in different grades that provides adequate shading where natural shading isn't available) or Aluminel 50% (a silver screen which substantially reduces the sun's incidence and heat) or a naturally shaded area with trees.A few months later, when they are about 30 cm(12") tall, place them in a normal sunny area, according to the conditions that the plant will find in the reforestation area, to acclimate them to the sun and the field conditions they will find in their final destination. It is very important to water the seedlings daily, at first, but gradually and slowly reduce the frequency of watering if they are in bags with a good amount of soil. The seedlings should not be watered too much, especially just before they are planted so that they get used to the difficulties they will encounter after planting, nor should the substrate be over fertilized so that the seedlings will "miss the nutrients" once they are planted in the ground. Save your resources for the best fertilization possible after the saplings are finally planted. If the seedlings are in Styrofoam trays, it is important to water more often, because the amount of soil is smaller in the tray cells than in the sachets, bags, or larger vessels.

If generous funding is available, you can get the Tubete, which is reusable, and greatly simplifies the whole process, eliminating transplanting the sapling from sowing to the bag.The Tubete is like a hard plastic ampoule of approximately 30 cm(12") height and 5 cm (2") in diameter, with a drain hole in the bottom.It is filled with substrate and the seed is deposited as in the seedbed, or any other recipient.The emergence and growth process takes place there, and the Tubetes are transported on their own tray, in groups of 54 or 96 cells, directly to the planting site, and then reused indefinitely.The Tubete is much more practical, but more expensive.There is great a technique called Rocambole, or Roulade, used with the Tubetes.The trick is to carefully extract the saplings from the Tubetes with roots intact in their soil clod and align up to 40 on top of a long sheet of plastic the same width as the soil clods(30 cm or 12) on the edge of a large table with the leaves facing out, then roll the plastic sheet gently, folding all the soil clods in a cylinder, firmly securing the end of the strip with string or tape, which compresses the volume of the seedlings, and these rolls can be placed in a large bucket, be carried in a canvas bag, or transported in a wheelbarrow to the planting site more easily and in larger quantities as the agglomeration protects the soil clods and the sapling leaves.


The tips below are the same process we have used, and are a step - by - step set of tips for the planting of trees.


It is extremely important to minimize the tall grass(in our case Capim - estrela Capim - gordura, Capim - braquiária) and weed the full extension of the planting area as much as possible, and as frequently as possible.Tall grass must be weeded very low, making sure to avoid removing any other form of vegetation that may be useful in the biome.If the grass is too tall it may be necessary to use a scythe, and then proceed with a gasoline brushcutter, always keeping the tall grass and weed as low as possible.This prevents the spread of fire and facilitates the movement of people in the area for maintenance work.All stones found should be separated and removed from the planting area so that the brushcutter blade does not hit them, which could injure someone or damage the equipment.It is critical that the mower operator wear protective gear such as boots, shin guards, gloves, safety goggles and ear protector.Investing in a good quality, reliable gasoline brushcutter is very important; There are good quality models produced by Makita, Stihl, and Husqvarna.The Mil Folhas Project owns two Husqvarna 142R gasoline powered brush cutters that are reliable and very robust.


It is extremely important that the spacing between the saplings is very close.The distance between one sapling and another should vary between 1.5 m(5') and 2.5 m (8'), but ideally 1.5 m(5') should be the pattern. The dense spacing between the saplings accelerates the shading process and the entire forest growth as a whole. When the spacing between saplings is small, the leaves quickly butt against each other and begin a dispute for sunlight very early, accelerating the growth of all trees and the shading of the soil below much faster than if they were planted, say 4.5 m (15') from each other.Therefore, it is essential that the saplings are planted with a very small spacing between them.It may seem like a waste, but extensive studies by the late Prof.Paulo Kageyama, who planted over 3.5 million tropical trees every year, proved decisively that when the saplings are planted close together, the chances of survival for each plant increase significantly, and the entire forest grows, as a whole, much faster.Also, it reduces the amount of weeding necessary, for the shading of the soil below begins earlier and becomes more thorough with time, facilitating the work, and reducing expenditure.


Crowning around the saplings is vital so that the grass does not hinder sapling growth, and it protects the plants from fire damage.With a good hoe, you need to eliminate all weeds and tall grass, or any other type of plant within a meter(3.5' ø) in diameter around the sapling. That is, there must be a completely clear circle of soil around each sapling, referred to as crowning. In case of fire, the combination of low grass and the crowning protect the saplings, preventing the heat and the flames from dehydrating and killing the plants. In addition, crowning prevents grass from dampening the plants by stealing the nutrients applied with fertilization.


Crowning in the diameter of approximately 1 meter(3.5'to 5' ø) is the first step.The holes should be opened in the center of the crowned area, and have a volume of approximately 15 liters; 4 gallons, or the volume of a large bucket.They can be opened with a shovel, hoe or medium auger, and any stones found in the pit, as well as roots or any other debris should be removed completely.

There are many ways to fertilize saplings for a reforestation project, and there is a consensus that the saplings, while in sachets, bags, or Tubetes should not be super well fertilized or pampered too much, so that they do not miss all those good nutrients when they are finally planted in the ground.It is always better to concentrate most of the fertilization for after the saplings are planted.The saplings must also go to the sun relatively early, to 'harden', and get used to the harsh conditions in the field, and should not stay too long in the bags so that their roots do not grow through the bags, and eventually penetrate the soil, to end up being uprooted when removed for transport, which causes a trauma to the plant, a common occurrence that should be avoided

There are two types of fertilization: Hole Fertilization before planting, and Cover Fertilization on the soil surface, around the seedling, after the planting is done.It is very important an organic fertilizer is used in the hole for planting.In the Mil Folhas Project, limestone is not used for several reasons, because there is a theory that the Atlantic Forest is characteristically a little acidic, and does not require much alkaline balance.


If top soil, worm castings, cow manure, or any other type of organic / biological substrate is available(except for chicken manure), any substrate should be used freely, and mixed in with the soil which is removed from the hole.The open pit can be filled with substrate compost, and completed with the soil dug out and mixed in by hand or any tool of your choice.Chemical fertilizer(see below), is manually mixed in with the organic substrate inside the pit, and this is very important to optimize the amount of nutrients in order to get the best head start for the saplings.After the saplings are planted, the leftover soil from the pit that was not mixed in with the fertilizer can be scattered around the crowned area.


There are many ways to fertilize or to add nutrients for planting trees in a reforestation project.Organic manure such as cow manure, rabbit, horse manure, worm castings, horse litter(straw mixed with manure used in stables) and / or vegetable land that can be harvested from a compost, anything can be used, provided there are no toxins, or chemicals.Only chicken manure should be avoided.It is important to remember that the swept dry leaves in a garden should never be burned(nothing should ever be burned in a Tropical Forest), but deposited in a shady and humid place, called a compost pile.Within a few months, the so - called black earth, or top soil, an excellent and nutrient - rich substrate can be recovered and used for any gardening purposes.You don't need any special, fancy boxes for that, just a shaded, humid area.

There is an excellent organic fertilizer option that has given us great results called Concinal, made from seaweed and it can be mixed in with chemical fertilizers and substitute any form of substrate, but we add it to other available substrates like worm castings.Concinal, produced by Algarea company is cheaper than any other fertilizer and has been giving excellent results.


A number of years ago, the excellent worm castings became a fever, but it was an expensive and difficult substrate to produce because the worms had to be sifted.The California red worm is a hardworking, disciplined creature that even looks beautiful when seen with good eyes.The procedure for starting a worm farm for castings is extremely simple.Look for a producer and buy a matrix, which is nothing more than about 20 kilos, or 45 pounds of dung with an overpopulation of hungry California red worms.Only buy the red ones, because the Brazilian worms are very good but unruly and tend to runaway.Then, get two or more cement rings for artesian wells, and put them side by side in a shaded area, preferably where you can reach with a water hose.Just lay the cement rings on the ground and fill them up with neither very fresh nor very dry cow dung, and lay a portion of the worm matrix on top of the manure, covering the top of each ring with a screen or piece of tightly knitted netting, so it does not become a bird cafeteria.The first stage takes longer, until the worms begin to feed, to reproduce and actually start the production of humus, or worm castings, meanwhile, keep the compost moist but not soaked, and in about 40 days, the level of the manure will drop to around 50 %, when the material will turn into an odorless, dark product, rich in plant nutrients; the sensational worm castings.Normally, to separate the worm from the castings, people have sifted the worms from the humus, an extremely boring job with a high rate of worm mortality which led to not only an annelid genocide, but forced many worm farmers to an early retirement.But the writer who speaks to you here has developed a rather nifty technique, in which the worms sift themselves voluntarily, and with military discipline.


Once the concrete rings are full of worm castings and overcrowded with worms, the next step is to introduce more cow manure, but not too much, enough to prevent the worms from escaping to other pastures.As we all know, the worm is essentially an underground animal, and it is from the bottom of the rings that they usually make their subterranean escape, and it is not bad for your garden, mind you, that some worms run for it.The procedure then is to introduce several large burlap bags, preferably the ones made from plastic fibers to transport grain, with a broad and somewhat loose weaving.Fill them up with cow dung, the same used in the rings, and place as many as you want around those worm crowded rings.What happens in the following weeks is a minor miracle in the domestication of the annelids; the worms are attracted to the fresh manure by smell, and all, with few exceptions, migrate to the dung inside the burlap sacks through the soil below, entering the sacks from the bottom, between the fibers of the plastic.But, if there are any stragglers in the bags, by all means bring them critters to the planting site and set them free! During this period it is important to keep the soil and the manure moist to facilitate the pilgrimage.Check the ring for dampness, and when it is low on worms remove the ready - to - use material and insert the contents of some of the bags together with the worms back into the rings, or you can simply add just dung, since the worms are all over the bags and underground, for they will migrate back.The following steps, as the time passes, is to check the first burlap bags close to the cement ring to see if the dung is becoming worm castings, at which point more cow dung burlap bags can be introduced on the outside, and the first ones will be vacated because the worms will have migrated to the new ones, leaving those bags practically free of worms with only worm castings inside.The more burlap sacks, the bigger your production will be, when you get to a point where the worms will instinctively and industrially migrate from one burlap sack to another, so the production effort will be minimal, since the worms will be sifting themselves earnestly.


There are many options for chemical fertilizers found on the market, the most common being NPK:

N = Nitrogen for LEAVES

P = Phosphorus for ROOTS

K = Potassium for FLOWERING and FRUITING

The numbers establish the quantity of each element for each formula, in the same order of the letters N / P / K.During planting, it is important to use an NPK formula in the planting hole with more Phosphorus(P) mixed in with the soil and substrate, such as 4 / 14 / 8, and up to 6 / 30 / 6 in more radical cases.Some time later, when we want to give the leaves strength, more Nitrogen(N) can be used, and in a few years, Potassium(K) in topdressing fertilizers, such as 10 / 10 / 10 or up to 15 / 2 / 10, and for a fertilizer of more severe coverage the 20 / 0 / 10 is excellent.

There are many powerful and easy - to - use chemical fertilizers such as Yoorin, very rich in Phosphorus but with little acidity (compared to the very acidic Rock Superphosphate), and therefore very rich in calcium and micro-nutrients that should always be used in topdressing fertilizers, as well as in the planting holes, together with NPK and organic substrate for planting. The combination of Yoorin and NPK is an inexpensive, efficient, and simple way to make pit fertilization in planting, or cover fertilization after planting, and has given us amazing results. Other very concentrated and nitrogen rich products like Polyblend are also found on the market. An EMATER agronomist can be consulted to indicate and advise on chemical fertilization. But the fertilization tips here are very effective. I cannot stress enough the importance of an efficient fertilization, especially in the first two or three years of the planting.


After the area was fully mowed, and the pits opened and crowned, each hole can receive 2 to 5 kg(6 to 11 lb.) of organic material, preferably a mixture of manure and vegetable soil, but ideally worm castings.If an organic fertilizer is widely available, up to 10 kg(22 lb.) can be used, but the part of the soil removed from the pit should always be mixed back in thoroughly with the added organic substrate.Inside the pit, add up 90g to 120g(only 3.2 to 4 ounces, just a handful, and no more!) of the chemical fertilizer combination.This handful should be mixed in manually to the upper half of this combination of soil and organic substrate inside the pit, and the pit is filled to the brim with the left over soil.Make sure the material is well compacted inside each pit.

2 parts Yoorin(60 g or 2.1 Oz.)

1 part NPK, 4 / 14 / 8 in granules(40g or 1 Oz.)

1 part Concinal(40g or 1 Oz)

NPK and Concinal fertilizer can be mixed in large quantities at once, for example: 100 kg(220 lb.) Yoorin to 50 kg(110 lb.) NPK 4 / 14 / 8 in granules and 50 kg(110 lb.) Concinal.Keeping in mind that this amount of 200 kg(440 lb.) is sufficient for fertilization of about 2, 000 saplings.Never overdo the chemical fertilizer for pit fertilization or topdressing.The no more than 120 grams(4 Oz.) per pit(a handful) is more than enough; More than that will not make the plants grow faster, but die faster.Organic manure, on the other hand, can be used in generous amounts.


Sometimes the hardest step is taking the seedlings from the nurseries to the planting area. Therefore, it is important that the seedlings are not very large, with only a year or less, and between 25 cm (9" to 10) and 50 cm (19 to 20") maximum in height. Dig out a small clump-sized hole, close to the same volume as the soil clods, into the soil / compost / fertilizer combination inside the hole, and carefully remove the seedlings from the bags, depositing the clump into the pit, and tightening the soil around the root clump gently but firmly, always keeping the plant stem straight. Avoid burying the seedling stem, i.e. do not bury the root of the plant too deep in the pit with the first 3 to 5 cm of the seedling stem. Preferably leave the soil at the mouth of the hole slightly concave, the so-called catchment bowl, which helps in the absorption of rainwater. On steep slopes, the pit mouth should be as horizontal and level as possible, so that it can absorb rainwater more efficiently.

Identify the Primary, the Early Secondary, and plant them interspersed between the Late Secondary so they can shade them better as they grow. It is important to spread the Leguminosae evenly, so that they can benefit non-Leguminosae with their nitrogen-fixing power to the soil. As for Climax, they should be planted only when there is a full shading condition, with the soil somewhat improved, a few years after the first planting. So don't worry too much about the Climaxes, invest in the Primary, Early Secondary and Secondary with plenty of Leguminosae, and aim to establish a shading condition as soon as possible. The Climax species are a luxury at the end of the process.

If you are in the Southeast(of Brazil), organize the planting for the rainy summer months(from September to March), and choose cool, cloudy days to plant, preferably rainy days or when you know it will rain very soon after(before a cold front arrives, for instance), which helps very much in the survival of the seedlings.Stay tuned to the weather or During the first days after planting, if there is no rain, and the weather is dry, watering is of the utmost importance and should not be ignored. It is important that the seedlings get watered frequently during this early stage, preferably by rain, but if there is an unexpected drought, they can be watered with a water pump or watering can. In any case, the youngest saplings should be watered at least once or twice a week for the first twenty days after planting, in case it does not rain. A good technique is to get some large, 200 or 400 liter (50 to 100 gallon) steel drums (with no holes...and not the musical type), scattered around the area, and fill them up with water from a pump (the project owns an excellent and reliable Stihl P835 gasoline pump), then use a hand watering can, or bucket to water each one of the newly planted seedlings. This is perhaps the most labor intensive aspect of the entire process, but it guarantees the success of the project. Keep in mind that many reforestation projects have failed from lack of maintenance, so, be thorough.

For planting in the driest months, there is a product called Stocksorb - purchased from Degusa in SP(11) 3146 - 4161 referred to as GEL that is deposited at the bottom of the pit, and 1 liter of water can be poured in (if there is no rain) so this seedling is provided with moisture for up to a month.The product is expensive but ensures optimal plant development in a drought.But planting should always be in the rainy summer months.


If bamboo sticks or wooden sticks are available, it is always wise to place one, but preferably two stakes about 1 meter long, firmly buried in the soil about 20 cm(8") away from the seedling stem in opposite sides with ribbons tied in an “8” from both sides. Fasten the stakes opposite sides of the plant, anchoring the seedling firmly. This protects the plant from high winds, and facilitates visualization during fieldwork. We use red ribbons, about one inch wide, because they are easy to see against the green surroundings.


After the planting, the so - called mulching around the plant stems should be done by spreading damp or semi - decomposed leaves on the soil above the pit well around the seedlings, which protects the root system from sunstroke and dehydration.During the maintenance period, when the crowned area is weeded and the tall grass mowed, the cut grass leaves can be used as mulch.Mulch is also a source of some nutrients for the plants.


It is natural that some seedlings do not survive, in which case they must be replaced.After the planting, careful maintenance work is vital in the first year for a successful reforestation project.Keep "mowing" until the Pioneers can stifle and eliminate the grass by shading it.Crowning must be done and re - done so that invading plants do not interfere with the growth of the seedlings, robbing them of nutrients, and cover fertilizers must be made on all seedlings, spreading the fertilizers around the stem of each plant preferably on cool, rainy days, every three months, or so.If cutting ants attack some of the plants(usually they choose by species, depending on the place), it is very important to combat these leaf - cutting ants(see below), as well as it is of the utmost importance to protect the plants from the risk of fire.


One month after planting, the first Cover Fertilization can be done.This fertilization is very important, easy to do and should be repeated three or four times a year, always in rainy periods.For(Brazil's) South-Eastern region in late spring, October, mid-summer in January, and if there is rainfall in April or May.

The measurement below is for each seedling:

2 parts Yoorin(60 g or 2.1 Oz.)

1 part NPK, 20 / 0 / 10 granules(40g or 1 Oz.)

1 part Concinal(40g or 1 Oz)

As well as in chemical pit fertilization, large quantities can be mixed i.e. 2 parts(100 kg or 220 lb.) of Yoorin, 1 part(50 kg or 110 lb.) NPK 20 / 0 / 10 and 1 part(50 kg 110 lb.) Concinal, or 200 kg(440 lb.) total.Do keep in mind that this amount of 200 kg(440 lb.) is sufficient for the fertilization of about 2, 000 seedlings, and the amount of mixture used per plant is the same as 120 g(4 Oz.) maximum.NPK 10 / 10 / 10 is a good formula for topdressing, but 20 / 0 / 10 may be more suitable, especially if the soil is very weak, minding that, with the combination of NPK and Yoorin, the Phosphate is more than amply provided.Because of Yoorin, you don't need to add up more Phosphate with NPK, but increase the amount of Nitrogen from 10 to 20 with the NPK 20/0/10.

A handful, or no more than 120 grams(4 Oz.) per seedling(do not overdo it!), should be evenly distributed and uniformly spread by hand around each sapling on the crowned area the distance of half a hand span from the plant stem.Place the mixture into buckets, and apply by hand.This cover fertilization should also be done on humid or rainy days, when the weather forecast indicates rain for the next few days.If there is mulch in the crowned area, remove the organic material, add the chemical fertilizer directly to the soil, and cover it back again with the mulch leaves around the seedlings.


When we reduce the incidence of tall grass and plant saplings, the tendency is for leaf - cutting ants to attack its leaves in the spring(Sept., Oct., and the SE) which can be very damaging, since an ant colony can devastate thousands of small saplings.These ants should be fought back using a defensive such as Formicide Bait: Attamex - s or Mirex, Formicide Powder, K - olthrine, or MIPS - Dinagro.Consult an agronomist in any plant store for the best way to fight off these ants.These baits should remain dry until the ants take them away, and there are plastic containers that store the bait and allow the ants to come and go with the bait, protecting the product from the rain and moisture that ruins its properties.We use a very good product made by MECPlant that works perfectly: One can also use an empty PET bottle with holes, and place the bait inside. The important thing is for the bait not getting wet while in the field.


Once the saplings grow large enough to shade the soil and repress the tall weeds, the forest itself becomes somewhat independent.No pruning is required on tropical trees, and the only situation that may require the use of saws or pruners is the removal of parasitic plants such as the Erva - de - passarinho that is a weed disseminated by birds, generally, which wraps around the tree branches and can grow to be quite large and heavy if not removed.These parasites must be combated at all costs, because the more of them that are present in an area, the more they will multiply throughout the region with the dispersal of its seeds by birds and bats.These plants can easily kill small seedlings, or a medium size tree if they are not removed, and the smaller they are, the less damage will caused to the saplings when removing them, for they really cling to the small tree braches.

Any type of plant that coils around the stem or branches of a tree should be removed, especially in the first years after planting.It is important to know how to identify parasites such as the Erva - de - passarinho, which is not very difficult, as it is very different from other plants with a darker green and shiny leaves.When located, this parasitic plant should be completely removed using a long reach stem tree pruner, or a long reach saw, if it is out of easy reach, and even if some seedling branches are sacrificed in the process, do not set aside this step.This work is easier in the winter months, because when some trees lose their leaves, the Erva - de - passarinho becomes much easier to locate.Always carry out inspections, especially in the winter months and be dedicated in removing these parasites as much as possible.And once removed, don't leave them on the ground, but collect them all, wrap them tightly inside plastic bags and let the garbage man take them far away.

There is a beetle known as Serra - pau that is very hard to locate in the woods, but it saws around the branches in the spring, laying its eggs on the part that falls to the ground.These branches are easy to identify because they have a precise, circular cut, clean and not broken irregularly or chipped off.Each one of these branches must be promptly removed from the planting site, sawn into smaller pieces, and also bagged to be carried away by the cleaning service.A lot of people burn both the Erva - de - passarinho and the branches cut by the Serra - pau beetle, but that is up you to decide.


Fire is perhaps the greatest of all hazards, especially in the driest winter months between June and September in South - eastern Brazil.Do not allow people to burn anything near the planting area and try to raise awareness of the dangers of fire for a reforestation project.If this area is near a road, the danger is also great because of cigarette butts thrown from moving cars.One solution is to make firebreaks, which can be labor intensive but are very effective as fire barriers.Firebreaks are extensions of three to five meters(ten to twenty feet) wide completely weeded and free of any vegetation, dividing the areas from where the fire can possibly come from, and the planting site.Another interesting option is to plant the so - called "green firebreaks", very green and moist plants, often Leguminosae that make a fireproof barrier protecting the seedlings.The combination of weeding and green firebreaks is ideal.If the reforestation area is always kept mowed down, and the seedlings well crowned, the risk of fire damaging the seedlings is greatly reduced.Once the trees establish a shaded area this risk reduces even more.

Training a fire brigade with people in the community is an excellent idea, also because this brigade can help combat fire outbreaks in other areas as well.Learn how to manufacture fire beaters made of rubber plated mats and long wooden or aluminum rods(each person has her or his own, with the correct weight and size) and a "rakehoe" that is useful to quickly remove dry leaves, so another person can beat the fire down.Contact the IEF(Instituto Estadual de Florestas) in your area to learn more about training and equipping forest fire brigades.This is a very important and complex topic that cannot be fully addressed in this text, but it must be studied and considered very seriously, as an uncontrolled fire easily destroys the work of many years.


These are guidelines to help anyone reforest areas on a deforested land, helping identify some of the native species of the Atlantic Forest, and showing the path based on a project, The Mil Folhas, which, after much research and effort, is giving us very positive results. The above suggestions have been described informally, but the data is technically very accurate, for countless experts, including the great prof. Paulo Kageyama, were consulted for this manual. It is organized in such a way that 'uneducated' people like us, non agronomists, can successfully venture into one of the most special, and important endeavors of a lifetime; planting not only one tree, but an entire forest, providing a cradle for various species of plants and animals in the wild, while preserving two life-saving assets for the planet: water and air.

Chico Bicalho: / 55-21-2556-3250 / 55-21-97950-975

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