8 JULY 2016 • VOL 353 ISSUE 6295 113 SCIENCE sciencemag.org
I S een from the Corcovado, the 710-meter-high gneiss mountain topped by the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue, Tijuca National Park rolls out below like a lush green carpet, edged with Rio de Janeiro’s urban sprawl. As the city scrambles to finish preparations for the Summer Olympics next month, scientists here are playing a longer game. They are embarked on a decades- long effort to transform Tijuca—one of the biggest urban forests in the world—from a verdant forest park inhabited mainly by hikers and stray dogs into something more akin to a genuine rainforest. “People have this naïve impression that the forest is full of animals,” says Fernando Fernandez, an ecologist at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). “Our goal is to fill this for- est with life again.” Decades ago, an expanding Rio de Janeiro surrounded Tijuca, severing its 4000 hect- ares from other forest tracts. Jaguars were long gone, but now hunters and loggers extirpated the monkeys, rodents, and other mammals living in the forest island, setting
A team of ecologists is recreating
a living rainforest in the heart of the Olympic city
By Herton Escobar, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Kala gave birth to the first
brown howler monkey born in Tijuca
Forest in more than a century.