Aspidosperma polyeuron, known locally as ‘Peroba rosa’, is a tropical tree that is distributed throughout several South American countries – Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela. Despite this wide range, Brazilian subpopulations are largely eroded as a result of logging for its timber and habitat loss. In Brazil, this species is found in the Atlantic forests and transition into Cerrado. Cerrado, meaning closed, is a vast ecosystem covering 20% of Brazil and is comprised of savanna wooded grasslands. This ecosystem is extremely rich in biodiversity, however it is being destroyed at a faster rate than it’s more famous rainforest neighbour.
Despite the wide range of this tree, its populations continue to decline as a result of logging and increased fragmentation of the population. This species is over-exploited due to its versatile and highly valued timber. If the use of this timber were managed in a more sustainable way then it would make a good native alternative to teak, providing a sustainable income for local communities and greater protection for native habitats.
Firstly, field surveys and studies will be carried out to discover the true extent of remaining populations in Brazil and to study the reproductive biology of this tree species. Following this, seed will be collected and 2,500 individuals will be propagated and incorporated into in situ habitat restoration projects. These plantings will then be monitored to ensure their successful progress. Local communities will be educated to increase awareness of the environmental importance of this species and general deforestation in Brazil.