Target: Brazilian Minister of the Environment, Sarney Filho
Goal: Stop the destruction of the Atlantic Forest, of which less than eight percent remains.
The Atlantic Forest is a tropical forest located mostly along the Atlantic coast in Brazil, with parts of it reaching into Argentina and Paraguay. A biodiversity hotspot, the forest consists of moist and dry broadleaf forest, mangrove forest, grasslands, savanna, and shrubland. Nearly 40% of its vascular plants and 60% of its vertebrate species are still found nowhere else in the world. New species are also continuously being found within the forest.
Since the Portuguese came to Brazil in the 1500s, more than 85% of the original forest has been lost, resulting in the destruction of hundreds of thousands of square miles of habitat. Due to this ongoing deforestation, today over 11,000 species of plants and animals in the Atlantic Forest are considered threatened.
Human activities which continue to threaten the forest include industrial logging, hunting, and land clearing for agriculture. And while this has come with its own share of economic benefits, the cost to Brazilians and people around the world through the loss of biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and other ecosystem services is yet greater.
While reforestation can never recover the kind of pristine virgin forest habitat native to a location, it can help maintain a somewhat stable ecosystem in spite of initial destruction. Hence, the Brazilian government, which leads one of the world’s largest economies, can and must do more to protect and restore this beautiful ecosystem.
Dear Minister Filho,
Please pressure your government to stop the destruction and begin reforesting the lost areas of the Atlantic Forest on the coast of Brazil. The Atlantic Forest is a source of some of the world’s most pristine biodiversity, and as such contains incredible benefits to humankind. Today, it is nearly gone, with over 85% of its original area lost to deforestation.
Brazil is the world’s fifth largest economy by purchasing power parity and is also one of the world’s fastest-growing. As such, your country can more than afford to preserve and restore this ecosystem which, like so many others, provides a living space for wildlife and at the same time represents a crucial form of carbon sequestration in the form of forest vegetation.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Ilosuna