The volunteering program of the Horus Institute was established in 2010 in partnership with the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC) to restore and protect the Lagoa da Conceição Dunes Natural Municipal Park, in Florianópolis – SC, Brazil.
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Back in 2009 we conducted occasional pine control excursions in the Lagoa da Conceição Dunes Natural Municipal Park, which protects more than 700 hectares of coastal scrub. After 2010 our activities became more systematic and better organized as we started to prioritize areas based on management techniques. Since then volunteers cut or pull out pines in monthly expeditions.
The partnership between the Horus Institute and the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC) was consolidated in 2010, initially with support from Professor Tânia Tarabini Castellani in the Ecology Department, and more recently with Professor Michele Dechoum, of the Biological Invasions, Management and Conservation Lab (LEIMAC).
In 2020 we are happy and proud to announce that more than 372,000 invasive pines have been eliminated from the park, and the landscape has been restored.
Our main motivation and our main result are the nearly 200 hectares of coastal scrub restored in these 10 years of community work. By protecting native species and ecosystem functions wer are also protecting our health and well-being.
We sincerely thank all those who have directly or indirectly contributed to restore ecosystems and landscapes. There is still much work ahead!
How the Program works
Volunteers control pines (Pinus spp.) that invade the park because they displace native species by shading them out. The university students who engage in the program get certificates for extension work, as the Ecology and Zoology Department of the Federal University of Santa Catarina is a partner of the program.
Control work is undertaken once a month. The funds used for the program come from crowd funding efforts, with a few exceptions. Some funds are needed to hire professional chainsaw operators, especially to cut down large pine trees.
If you are interested in participating, enroll through our Faceboook page. Photographs of the control activities are posted after every expedition.
Some videos are also available from our YouTube channel.
For more details… keep reading.
Pine trees were introduced in Florianópolis in the 1960s for forest experimentation. At the time, the Brazilian government promoted pine and eucalyptus plantations for pulp, paper and wood products. The genus Pinus is considered one of the most invasive genera in the world, with twenty invasive species in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Lagoa da Conceição Dunes Natural Municipal Park protects remnants of coastal scrub, the vegetation that colonizes coastal sand dunes. Species richness is very high, including carnivore plants, herbs, bushes, and small trees. Two endemic species that are locally threatened find refuge in the park – Campomanesia littoralis and Cyphomandra maritima. The diversity of birds is also very high, as they use temporary lagoons formed in the rainy season among the dunes. Some birds are migratory and come back to the park every year, in their mating season.