The Bahia coastal forest covers a 150-kilometer-wide strip along the Atlantic coast of Bahia and Espirito Santo states in Brazil. It is considered one of the most highly endangered ecosystems, with less than 5% of the original forest remaining. It is also considered a high priority for biodiversity conservation, due to the large number of endemic fauna.
Dr. Montagnini is following the course of regeneration of secondary forests as it happens naturally, when degradation conditions are not extremely harsh; encouraging or accelerating regeneration of secondary forests using enrichment planting techniques, when degradation level is intermediate; and, in the more drastic cases when restoration thresholds are too large, reforesting the lands with mixed plantations of native species.
She is partnering with the Michelin Tire Company to restore old rubber plantations on their 10,000 hectares land in Itubera, Bahia, enriching the groves with native species; and restoring part of the native secondary forests and abandoned pastures with mixed plantations of native species.
Also in the Atlantic Forest region of Brazil, Dr. Montagnini has experiments, started in 2008 with the Aracruz Company, to replace eucalyptus plantations with native species. The eucalypts are serving as nurses for encouraging the growth of valuable native tree species, planting native tree seedlings in contrasting environments: under the canopy of eucalypts, in association with eucalypts, and in the open.