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Project in progress  |  Protection of fauna and flora

Restaura Caatinga


The municipality of Crateús, in the state of Ceará, is a region that holds the highest number of Conservation Units in the state, while also being one of the leading areas for deforestation in the Caatinga biome.


The training activities will be developed around the Serra das Almas Natural Reserve, a Conservation Unit considered the 1st Outpost of the Caatinga Biosphere Reserve, together with the 40 communities that live in the region.


The restoration of forest ecosystems will take place in the RPPN Neném Barros, in the District of Monte Nebo. Restoration efforts will primarily focus on the surroundings of the RPPN, as this category of Conservation Unit lacks a buffer zone, as so the planting in its vicinity aims to ensure biodiversity protection, maintain ecological corridors, and to prevent edge effects. 


Native tree species with potential for recovering degraded areas will be used. The consortium of species was determined in collaboration with the UFRN Restoration Ecology Laboratory, after evaluating the environmental conditions of the area to be restored. 


Some species are: 

  • Sabiá (Mimosa caesalpiniifolia) 

  • Mutamba (Guazuma ulmifolia) 

  • Jurema branca (Piptadenia stipulacea) 

  • Jurema preta (Mimosa tenuiflora) 

  • Angico (Anadenanthera colubrina) 

  • Catingueira (Cenostigma pyramidale) 

  • Juca (Caesalpinia ferrea) 

  • Tamboril (Enterolobium contortisiliquum) 

Community history

The Caatinga is steeped in stories of the backlands and the semi-arid, yet there are still some challenges in cultivating on the land. Episodes of extreme drought, high temperatures and human exploitation have led its ecosystems toward desertification, causing high plant mortality rates in restoration programs. 

To address this dilemma, the Restoration Ecology Laboratory at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, led by Professor Gislene Ganade, has developed an innovative technique to fight desertification. This method uses seedlings with elongated roots, increasing the survival rate of planted species by up to 70%. 

The technique has two (02) pilot projects in areas of up to 5 hectares under monitoring. Today, the objective is to escalate this effective methodology, disseminating it to actors who participate in large restoration processes, such as companies and enterprises that need to comply with forest replacement and environmental compensation and public bodies responsible for guiding and supervising these projects. 


The selected region lost 18% of its original vegetation cover between 2001 and 2019, and it contains Private Natural Heritage Reserves (RPPNs) without proper buffer zones. Furthermore, there are 40 communities and 3,600 families living there, including indigenous communities, riverside communities and agrarian reform settlements, which depend on the services that nature provides for their survival and have their main economic activities related to subsistence agriculture. 


With this project, these communities will be involved in the development processes of activities, providing them with conditions to adapt to semi-aridity and promoting sustainable local development combined with biodiversity conservation and income generation. 

Historical impacts:

2000 - Implementation of the Reserva Natural Serra das Almas.
2012 - Implementation of RPPN Neném Barros, where restoration activities will be carried out.

2015 - UFRN's Restoration Ecology Laboratory (LER) receives the “Dryland Champions Brasil” certificate, an honor awarded by the United Nations and the Ministry of the Environment. 

2016 - BrazilDry Project – Implementation of the 1st pilot restoration project of 3.5 hectares in the Açu National Forest with the award-winning technique.  

2022 - Formalization of Serra de Ibiapaba’s support for the “Restaura Caatinga” project. 

March 2023 - Start of planting. 

Full name:

Restaura Caatinga: Aligning innovative techniques, staff training and promotion of the seed network to protect the Caatinga. 


18 months.



Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): 

The project

The “Restaura Caatinga” project’s main goal is to strengthen the Caatinga restoration productive chain, through the dissemination of knowledge and the planting of native seedlings. Thus, it is expected to promote a positive cycle through the mobilization of stakeholders and local communities, generating opportunities based on the conservation of the most biodiverse semi-arid region in the world. 


hectares of degraded areas with restoration potential mapped in Ceará.


hectares of degraded forest ecosystems undergoing restoration in the Caatinga.


hours of courses on restoration and seed collection taught to stakeholders.


trained actors, among NGOs, public and private sectors, to implement innovative Caatinga restoration techniques.


farmers, students, environmental educators and multipliers from communities surrounding the RNSA trained to collect and process seeds.


families indirectly benefited from the promotion of ecosystem services offered by the region's restored ecosystems and the generation of income around the restoration cycle. 


families indirectly benefited from the promotion of ecosystem services offered by the region's restored ecosystems and the generation of income around the restoration cycle. 

Project impacts

Project activities

Promotion of the 1st Advanced Course on Ecological Restoration of the Caatinga biome. 

Training course aimed at disseminating the latest and most advanced techniques for effectively restoring degraded areas in semi-arid regions, targeting various stakeholders influential in the restoration chain. This includes representatives from NGOs, environmental departments, research institutions and the private sector. The course will be taught by Dr. Gislene Ganade, who developed the technique honored with the "Dryland Champions Brazil" certificate by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. 

Consolidation of the Seed Collectors Training Point.

Expansion of the potential of the Caatinga Seed Network involves activating the training infrastructure already established within the Serra das Almas Natural Reserve. Trained collectors will work to supply restoration projects in the region with seedlings and seeds. To achieve this, training sessions will be organized for communities in the surrounding areas to collect and process seeds. Additionally, there will be identification of native Caatinga species in collaboration with organizations and communities residing near the Reserve.

Restoration and/or enrichment of 20 hectares of the Caatinga Biome.

Restoration of 20 hectares of Caatinga ecosystems within and around the Neném Barros Private Natural Heritage Reserve in Crateús, emphasizing a highlighted area for protection. This initiative ensures biodiversity preservation, maintenance of ecological corridors and control of edge effects. The technique to be implemented was developed by the Restoration Ecology Laboratory of UFRN, led by Professor Dr. Gislene Ganade. It involves using seedlings with long roots supported by PVC tubes and planting in individually hydrated locations, ensuring higher survival rates even during severe droughts. 


Celeo Redes Brasil

Responsible for the project's financial support, Serra de Ibiapaba is an energy transmission company owned by Celeo, a group that operates in the transmission and generation of renewable energy, operating in more than 10 Brazilian states. 

Associação Caatinga

Organization with 24 years of experience in conservation projects, sustainable development of rural communities and valorization of the Caatinga. Manager of the Reserva Natural Serra das Almas, considered the 1st Outpost of the Caatinga Biosphere Reserve.

Bioeconomy platform that enables projects to value Brazilian biodiversity. It has a multidisciplinary team with more than 12 years of experience in project management and corporate communication. Its work has already enabled the operation of 23 projects to enhance biodiversity and created a network of more than 500 organizations and companies active in the socio-environmental cause. 

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