Introducing the ARAÇÁ project

For millions of years, the entire eastern coast of what is today Brazil was covered by an exceedingly diverse biome: the Atlantic Rainforest. But only over the last two hundred years or so, the expansion of agriculture, cities and roads, combined with the exploitation of the rainforest’s precious wood, have led to over 92% of this forest being lost.

Growing up in Brazil, I would often visit those forests – still considered a Global Biodiversity Hotspot – and fell in love with their nature. But I also witnessed first-hand how rapidly they were disappearing, and decided to do everything I possibly could to help save them.

This is why my wife Anna and I decided to use our family savings to purchase 120 hectares of pristine forest in one of the last remnaining nuclei, to set up a new centre for rainforest conservation and research. We now wish to identify partners and supporters with the goal of seeing the 8% of remaining forest considerably expand its extent during our lifetime, through conservation and restoration efforts that embrace the needs of local people and support a more sustainable stewardship of land and natural resources.

We are therefore setting up the Atlantic forest Research And Conservation Alliance (ARAÇÁ), a not-for-profit partnership centred on Sitio Bacchus, our privately-owned reserve near Nova Friburgo (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). See the exact location here.

Aims and activities

ARAÇÁ’s aim is to unlock knowledge in a megadiverse nucleus of Brazil’s Atlantic Rainforest by promoting collaborations, fostering discovery-driven research and conservation, and catalysing training and education.

To create a solid knowledge base for conservation and restoration, and support professional and educational training, we will establish partnerships with local, national and international collaborators and researchers to collect baseline knowledge of all biodiversity on the site and conduct short- and long-term research projects, monitoring programmes and conservation initiatives. These data will help us identify priority areas for conservation and restoration.

One of the first initiatives is participation in the Project LIFEPLAN – A Planetary Inventory of Life, which is probably the most ambitious, globally distributed and systematically collected data set to date on a broad range of taxonomical groups. Additional projects are being developed by our team and we are also open to new proposals and expressions of interest to collaborate.

How to contribute

We can help you make a real difference to our natural world. As a non-profit charity, we are dependent on the generous support from individuals, companies and other organisations who share the purpose and goals of ARAÇÁ.

We strive to use every donation as effectively as possible, with nearly all funds directly supporting project activities on the ground, and only minimal expenditures on administration.

All finances are reported on an annual basis and will be made available from this website.

Donations can be made through bank transfers to the registered Swedish charity Antonelli Foundation for Biodiversity Research and Conservation:

From Sweden: Account number: 5004-11 085 23 Bankgiro number: 127-7292

From other countries: IBAN: SE5450000000050041108523 Bic-code: ESSESESS Bank address: SEB, SE-106 40, Stockholm, Sweden

Any questions or suggestions? Please get in touch! See contact details here

It is early days for this project (which began in January 2022) and we will further develop this homepage and its contents over time.

Alex & Anna Antonelli

Sitio Bacchus Sitio Bacchus Sitio Bacchus Sitio Bacchus
Sitio Bacchus, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil