Meet the Cerrado

The Cerrado region of Brazil is tropical savanna.  The region is semi-arid, meaning there is a distinct dry season and a distinct rainy season (31.5-63 inches/800-1600 mm of rainfall per year).  Although Brazilian Rain Forest is much more famous, the Cerrado is home to a third of Brazil’s biodiversity, much of it endemic.

Since ancient times there has been a cycle of fires in the region, which clears out old brush, making way for new growth.  Ramping up since the 1960s humans have been using more fire in the Cerrado – clearing the way for farms, ranch land, and monoculture plantations.  Over 35% of the natural Cerrado area is currently in use for agriculture.  The soil is naturally nutrient poor and there is fear that desertification may set in if too much of the area is improperly managed.  Currently less than 7% of the Cerrado region is protected, and land conversion is occurring at an alarming rate.

Grota Funda, the land where we will be carrying out our permaculture and sustainability research and training, is located in the Chapada, an area of sandstone mountain ranges within the Cerrado.  Grota Funda is located near Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park; the closest town is São Jorge, 4 miles (6.5 km) away.

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