Photo From 1996 With The Original Deforested Landscape
Photo Made By A Drone In 2016, Twenty Years After The Beginning Of The Project, Showing The Result Of The Work.

Projeto Mil Folhas - Thousand Leaves Project

22º27'32.78 "S 43º12'43.35" W (Alt. 800 to 950m / 2,600 to 3,100 ft.)

The Mil Folhas Project began in 1996 to reforest a public area of ​​approximately 200,000 m2 (50 ha) between the km 71 and 73 of the interstate highway BR-040 in the Vale Florido region in Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil. The area, originally covered by a dense Atlantic Forest, had been completely, and unnecessarily cleared by the DNER (Brazilian National Roads Department) in the mid 1970's during the duplication works of the former Estrada do Contorno.

The project was the initiative of two friends, Guga Casari and Chico Bicalho, to recompose the area which, by then, had a very degraded soil, covered only by tall grasses braquiária, colonião and gordura, and succumbing to frequent fires and erosion, since it had been deprived of its forest cover for over twenty years.

In the beginning, the project was carried out informally, with the mobilization of friends and residents of the region, in joint efforts that did not always have the desired effect. Even though the techniques used, based on the Secondary Succession system, and perfected by the late prof. Paulo Kageyama were theoretically correct, the project evolved slowly in the early stages, with little money, and, the lack of knowledge on fertilization. The soil was so degraded, and lacking in nutrients that we did not know how to properly fertilize the plants, sometimes using too much, sometimes using too little fertilizer, and not always mixing the right formulas for each application.

Google Earth Satellite Image From 2019.

Map Of Altimetry Highlighting The Project Area.
Aerial Photograph Highlighting The Project Area.

After attending botanical congresses, and studying really hard, Chico Bicalho (who is not a biologist) found that in the mid 1990's there was no single text available on reforestation with Atlantic Forest species in the annals of agronomy in Brazil, for they were fragmented into various papers, that to be made into one piece of information needed to be assembled like a puzzle. And for this reason, gathering the scientific and technical data for a non-biologist interested in reforestation with Atlantic Forest species was very difficult.

Therefore, a reforestation manual was created with the help of countless people, notably Paulo Kageyama, Maria Lucia Nova da Costa, Tamar Bajgielman, Leonardo Ciuffo Faver, and Orlando Graeff. This manual is very useful for helping anyone to reforest; It is a very technical and detailed text, but written simply and directly, gathered from academic information based on our learning experience throughout the project, and refined for more than fifteen years of research and work in the field. This manual explains every detail of how to develop a reforestation project, and it is included in this site.

A reforestation manual would have made a huge difference in the early years of the project, because not only our path should have been made easier, speeding up the result of the work as a whole, but the entire process could have been a lot less costly, more efficient, and objective. We hope this manual will make life easier for many groups interested in reforesting with Atlantic Forest species.

In 2001, Guga Casari and Chico Bicalho designed a toy called ZéCar, distributed by Kikkerland Design Inc. of New York, establishing that the royalties from the sale of this product would go entirely for the Mil Folhas Project. Shortly thereafter, a generous matching fund from Kikkerland Design doubled the budget for the project, greatly increasing our planting capacity. Since then, the project has received more than 320,000 trees from over 150 species native to the Atlantic Forest.

Students From The E.E. João Kopke Planting Trees In The Mil Folhas Project.
Child From The Youngest Class At The E.E. João Kopke Planting A Tree In The Mil Folhas Project.

Since the year 2000, the project has been working with students from João Kopke Municipal School at Fazenda Inglesa, Petrópolis, in environmental awareness days with groups of more than 350 students of all ages, helping to raise awareness for the entire local population on the importance of the environment, and the preservation of nature. Once a year, students from João Kopke Municipal School walk a little over two miles from the school building to the planting site, removing the trash along the road, placing signs with environmental preservation phrases, and culminating in the planting of about 1,500 trees. One of the most important aspects of the project is ecologically oriented grassroots education and environmental awareness for every resident.

The Mil Folhas Project, for being adjacent to two major Atlantic Forest reserves, the Araras Biological Reserve (2,000 ha), and the Tinguá Biological Reserve (26,000 ha), has quickly adapted to the endemic forest environment, and acts as a vital corridor of vegetation between these two important biological reserves. The project also provides a nursery for seedlings with matrices of several important species of rare Atlantic Forest tree species that have been planted, with some already fruiting, such as Palmito jussara (Euterpe edulis), Peroba-de-Campos (Paratecoma peroba), Cambucá (Marlierea edulis), Jequitibá (Cariniana estrellensis), Araucaria (Araucaria angustifolia), Jatobá (Hymenaea courbaril) among many others.

The project celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2016, and despite the initial difficulties it has made impressive annual progress, when an average of 35 to 37 thousand trees were planted each year between 2004 and 2009. Since 1996, more than 325,000 trees, native of the Atlantic Forest biome, from over 150 different species have already been planted. In addition to reforestation and environmental education, the Mil Folhas Project has established a genetic plant bank, forming a rich matrix for seed collection for new reforestation projects to be implemented. We intend to be an example, and a help, for many more people to plant forests throughout Brazil.

This project is dedicated with love to Philip and Molly Jenkins.

Students From The E.E. João Kopke Placing The Trash Removed From The Street In The Dumpsters.
Students From The E.E. João Kopke And Signs With Environmental Sayings.

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