Mata Atlántica Model Forest

Country: Brazil
Location: State of Minas Gerais
First year in the IMFN (International Model Forest Network): 2005
Area of Model Forest: 2,250,320 hectares
Regional affiliation: Red Iberoamericana de Bosques Modelo (Ibero-American network of Model Forests)

Contact information

Laura Lago
Rua Espírito Santo,495-8ºandar, 30.160-030- Belo Horizonte - Minas Gerais
Tel: +55-31-3219-5499
Forest profile and resources
The Mata Atlántica, which once covered 16% of the Brazilian land surface (with an area greater than 1,360,000 km2), is among the 25 richest regions for biodiversity, and is also one of the most threatened in the world. Today, in Brazil, only 8% of the original area remains intact.
The majority of the species of Brazilian fauna and flora in the process of extinction are endemic to the “Floresta Atlantica” (Atlantica Forest). According to botanists, the Atlántica Forest is the most diversified in the world, with more than 25 thousand species.  The Mata Atlántica is home to a great diversity of endemic fauna. Approximately 250 species of mammals (55 endemic), 340 amphibians (87 endemic) and, approximately, 350 species of fishes (133 endemic).

In Minas Gerais, the Mata Atlántica is the second biome, and originally occupied circa 48.92% of the territory [of that state]. Today, there remains barely 17% of this vegetation, distributed in various isolated fragments, the majority of which are located in protected areas. Given the importance of these remnants for the conservation of the biological diversity, all efforts made for its protection, conservation, and sustainability are extremely important.

Economic profile
The areas covered by the Mata Atlántica have the highest population density in the country. The initiatives under the Mata Atlántica Model Forest (MAMF) first began in the region of the city of Ouro Preto, first Brazilian city to be declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, in 1980.
The economy of Ouro Preto is highly dependent on tourism, but there also are significant industries surrounding metallurgy and minerals such as iron, bauxite, magnesium, marble, gold, dolomite, tourmaline, and imperial topaz.

Ouro Preto is also known for its cultural activities. Each year, the city holds a traditional winter festival (Festival de Invierno de Ouro Preto y Mariana), and the arts and letters forums (Foro de las Artes y el Foro de las Letras), which are sponsored by the Federal universities of Minas Gerais and Ouro Preto. In addition to these events, the region offers a wealth of cultural activities throughout the year.


The organizations most involved in the management of the Model Forest are:

  • State forestry service [Instituto Estatal Forestal (IEF) - Regional]
  • Univ. Federal de Ouro Preto (UFOP)
  • Technical assistance and rural extension company for the state of Minas Gerais [Empresa de Asistencia Técnica y Extensión Rural del Estado de Minas Gerais (EMATER)]
  • Municipal secretariat for the environment (SEMMA)
  • SEMMA Mariana
  • Municipal council of Ouro Preto
  • Cooperative of quartz extractors
  • Commercial and industrial association of Ouro Preto
  • Environmental protection association of Ouro Preto
  • San Bartolomeo association for community development
  • Community association for water engineering

Strategic goals

  • Strengthen the conservation units
  • Monitor and control use of the soil
  • Prevent and fight forest fires
  • Sustainable development around the areas of connectivity
  • Payment for environmental services
  • Community forestry

Achievements to date

  • Create model units to demonstrate forest management in the state forest of Uamii
  • Train the communities in management, silviculture, processing and commercialization of the subproducts of the candeia (Eremanthus erythropapptus) and about added value for forest products
  • Support alternative sustainable development activities, though micro-loans (rural tourism and ecotourism, craftwork, apiculture, and raising forest animals)
  • Support producers on projects to manage their properties, and with regard to the process for demarcation and regularization of their farming properties, all as part of the recomposition, enrichment, and management of the areas of Legal Reserve and Permanent Preservation
  • In the region of the MAMF, promote a new understanding of the worth of natural resources, through environmental education and knowledge of the environmental products and services provided by the forests