Balfourodendron riedelianum, known locally as ‘Pau-marfim’, is a tropical tree endemic to southern South America, including the Atlantic Forest of Brazil, northwestern Argentina and Paraguay. It is primarily found growing in lowland forests along river banks and extending 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.
Endemic to southern South America, this species is an important part of the Atlantic Forest canopy. It has suffered heavily due to habitat loss and selective logging. Due to its straight trunk and high quality timber this tree has great potential to be used in silviculture thus providing a sustainable livelihood for local communities if managed responsibly. It also has good potential to be used for carbon sequestration.
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 deforestation in Brazil.