This week I welcomed an invitation to hike through Floresta da Tijuca, the largest urban forest in the world. Turns out it’s one of the most successful reforestation projects on the planet, right here, within the city of Rio de Janeiro.
To me it’s beyond exquisitely beautiful. This forest inhales worry and and exhales hope. It reassures me, that given a bit of wisdom, massive action and enough time, Nature does repair herself. It keeps me motivated to keep planting trees in neighboring areas, former forests, that have been slashed and burned, where people now suffer the consequences: diminished water supplies, landslides and floods.
In 1861, Dom Pedro II, the Brazilian Emperor, issued a decree expropriating degraded coffee plantations from their owners near Rio de Janeiro. The decree encouraged reforestation of the mountainous area, and was aimed at restoring watershed services to the city. After all the original forest had been destroyed to make way for coffee farms, Tijuca was replanted by Major Manuel Gomes Archer. These actions led to the restoration of the Tijuca Forest, ultimately inaugurated as the Tijuca National Park. It’s now the largest urban forest in the world (14.7 square miles).
In 1961, Tijuca Forest was declared a National Park. Among its impressive peaks is the Pedra da Gávea. The Forest contains a number of attractions, most notably the colossal sculpture of Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado mountain.
Please help us to restore more forests like this one. www.iGiveTrees.com