conservation of habitats (rain forest)

Richard Haard
Tue, 27 Dec 2011 18:57:17 PST
re re in defense of Eucalypt monoculture plantations in southern Brazil...............

In 2009-10 I spent several months with my equivalent (seed collector and native plant propagator) in Sao Paulo State, Brazil. This area about S23 degrees W48 deg and in the rainforest transition. When settled and cleared, just like my mixed conifer forest biome in PNW @ 48 degrees north 110 years ago coffee plantations were installed. Then as soil fertility declined, plantations were replaced with row crops - corn, beans and finally grazing with cattle After these soils were depleted or eroded to subsoils even cattle would not use the land. My friend, Carlos, is the last of three generations of settlers who have finally abandoned this depleted land for the big city, Sao Paulo. We toured these places in all directions from his village, Angatuba, documenting with photographs the eroded slopes, indicator poverty grasses. Here are a few pictures of this scene <…>. 

Not that the entire area was devastated. There is diversified farming in country side <>.  Many local people are truly aware of their environmental crisis. Rapidly replacing these devastated fields are Eucalypt plantations that are spreading over the landscape like a blanket. Contrast these devastated places with this view  <> and recently cleared land after harvesting a 3 year old standing crop <>. The government in this state is indeed enlightened. There are very strict rules for preservation of riparian corridors and planting native plant buffers around irrigation ponds, village parks and drainages. Villages have their own native plant nurseries making wide assortment of trees available to local farmers and foresters. The plantations of eucalypt are restoring the fertility of the land that has been lost giving the ground a chance to restore itself from the soil parent material. 

I envy the diversity of flora in these tropics. Here in PNW, USA we only have 20 or so trees and shrubs in our flora and in Brazil there are hundreds literally that I studied with my friend. On one set of field trips I visited the protected watershed of the community, Angatuba. Looking like 5 square miles at least it was 20 years ago logged and burned. However natural recruitment has completely restored the forest. The Eucalypt and local production of cane sugar makes the region energy self sufficient and feeds a pulp mill employing 10000 workers. The village has a community ethanol plant < > that supplies sugar and alcohol fuel to run all government vehicles. Eucalypt is energy feedstock for their boiler, (w bagasse). Every other place that needed process energy I could find in the area. A cheese plant, lumber dry kiln, food manufacture, cooking and metalurgical charcoal kiln <>,  turpentine plant and so on, (including fe
 edstock for pottery kiln) <>.

I also envy the opportunity for sustainability this state government and the people have with their diversity of flora, the productivity of the land, and the demonstrated ability of the land to heal with stewardship. These folks also demonstrate minimum use of machinery to maximize their utilization of human resources. Including their use of human labor instead of machinery at their (mandated) recycling plant.…

Watershed health, community sustainability, stewardship - we need to include our fellow humans in a realistic policy to preserve rain forest habitats.

Rich Haard
Bellingham Washington
N 48deg W122 deg
On Dec 27, 2011, at 5:08 PM, Shelley Gage wrote:

> While in Porto Allegro in Southern Brazil in September I was astonished at the large cultivated areas of not only eucalypt forests but also Acacias and was told that these areas were previously used for beef production which is being moved to freshly cleared Amazon forests. It is a worry!!
> Happy New Year,
> Shelley 

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