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Braun Prize 2012 - Nucleario

Nucleario – Geo Engeneering Concept

Bruno Pagnoncelli Sustainability Award Winner: Students


Closely linked to the history of Brazil, the Atlantic rain forest is home to great biodiversity and provides a number of forest services essential to the sustainability of ecosystems. Due to the historical process of degradation, of the original 130 million hectares of rain forest, only 28 million remain in fragments 17 million of which are unproductive and abandoned. Herein lies the greatest potential for ecological restoration.

Given the high level of degradation and the low resilience of these areas, human intervention is needed to regenerate the forest in order to return as closely as possible to natural communities, including their structure and operation. Based on theories of natural succession and nucleation techniques, the “Nucleario” Project is a geoengineering concept for forest restoration in degraded areas, aiming for large coverage, minimum maintenance and maximum efficiency.
Produced on an industrial scale and made of biodegradable materials, it is designed to serve multiple functions such as protection from ants, accumulation of water, shade for the seedlings, crowning invasive species, as well as to be storable and able to glide.
Therefore, with the aim of turning these 17 million hectares into forest again, the “Nucleario” Project is being funded in partnership with government and major sponsors and follows a GIS plan (Geographic Information System) developed by a multidisciplinary technical team.

The “Nucleario” assembly units remain in each region until they are dispersed by helicopters in the environment. As “Nucleario” grows, forest fragments will begin to interconnect and exchange genetic material, moving towards a dynamic balance independently of human action.


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Finding of the jury

The jurors found this to be an interesting marriage between simple technology and nature. They felt that the fact that the seedlings fall from the sky is both a poetic as well as fantastic idea. Actual planting of seedlings is not carried out by hand. On average, one of six seeds will become a tree, like it occurs in nature. Given the abundance of the seedlings, it doesn’t matter if only one third actually grow into trees. Jurors stated that this seems very engineered and yet very rational, which is what makes it so interesting. Jurors were also impressed by the level of thought that went into this uniquely complex system or solution. They could find no disadvantage or reason to think it would fail. If it works exactly as envisioned by the inventors, this would be a very special and appropriate project.

They appreciated the fact that the product falls from the sky without knowing how it lands and in what situation, yet still grows into a tree. They felt that this is all very unique, especially because it is carried out using inexpensive, recyclable materials, which they found to be an impressive combination.
Bruno Pagnoncelli

Bruno Pagnoncelli

2006 – 2010 B.A. Industrial Design, PUC-Rio, Department of Arts and Design, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2008 Internship, Artes e Oficios, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2009 – 2010 Internship, NavCity, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Work, SightGPS,
Since 2011 Work, SightGPS, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil