The Una Ecopark is located in the Atlantic forest of southern Bahia, Brazil – one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world. Only 8 percent of the original forest remains, providing critical habitat for endangered species, such as the golden-headed lion tamarin and the yellow-breasted capuchin monkey, which live nowhere else on earth.
The Una Ecopark is a joint initiative between the Institute for Socio-Environmental Studies of Southern Bahia and CI in Brazil. The park is a private reserve with a canopy walkway and visitor’s center. It creates economic opportunities for the local community through nature-based tourism, which contributes to the conservation of the remaining forest. A portion of each entrance fee goes to conservation projects that are in the region and are designed to preserve biodiversity while raising local residents’ incomes.
The park also serves as a research center where scientists conduct biological studies. The visitor’s center educates tourists about the unique aspects of the Atlantic forest. By experiencing the park’s natural beauty and magnificent species, visitors will appreciate the need to protect this region for future generations.
The project’s purpose is to demonstrate the potential of ecotourism as an economically viable alternative that is compatible with and dependent on conserving the natural resources of Southern Bahia. The canopy walkway gives tourists a view of the forest from a unique perspective and allows them to interact with nature above and among the trees. The visitor’s center and park guides provide environmental education for the local population and international tourists, and the facilities serve as a research and study center for the Atlantic rainforest and its biodiversity.
The Una Ecopark is part of CI’s work to conserve Brazil’s Atlantic forest, which also includes assistance to cocoa farmers in areas where improved techniques can help save key forest fragments – demonstrating that human societies can live harmoniously with nature.
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Facilities and Tourist Information
- Transportation. There are several flights from Salvador, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo to Ilhéus, where visitors can rent a car or take a bus to Una and can then drive to the park (approximately 45 minutes).
- Guided Nature Hikes. Suitable for all ages and levels of fitness, the park’s main trail is 2-kilometers long and begins in a rubber plantation where tourists learn how local workers harvest rubber from trees. Along the trail, visitors will encounter primary and secondary forests, as well as exuberant vines and bromelias from the region. Deep in the forest, tourists will experience walking more than 20 meters above the ground on a suspension bridge that was constructed using existing trees and without using nails.
- Birdwatching. More than 200 bird species have been found in the area. The canopy walkway allows enthusiasts to view specific canopy species that can be seen only from platforms.
- Wildlife Viewing. Visitors may catch a glimpse of animals such as golden-headed lion tamarins, yellow-breasted capuchin monkeys, coatimundies, red brockets, collared peccaries, and sloths.
For more information, please contact:
Institute for Socio-Environmental Studies of Southern Bahia (IESB)
Una Ecopark of Brazil