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The Ignored Crisis in Brazil

Most people haven't heard of the Cerrado yet, and that's a problem

by: Marsea Nelson, CEPF Senior Communication Manager

 

For months, the fires that devastated the Amazon made headlines on the front page all over the world, and with good reason. The iconic rainforest stores millions of tons of carbon dioxide & #8211; its burning means a less stable climate across the Earth.

The fires also devastated another part of South America, but coverage of this catastrophe was sparse.

More than 800 bird species are found in the Cerrado, including the peach-fronted parakeet. ©O. Langrand
More than 800 species of birds are found in the Cerrado, including the peach-faced parakeet. Photo: © O. Langrand / CEPF Collection

In central Brazil (and with small portions in Bolivia and Paraguay) are 200 million hectares of tropical savanna, known as the Cerrado. The early settlers of the Cerrado considered it a barren desert, but that was far from the truth. This region is considered the most biodiverse tropical savanna on the planet, with 5% of the world's species. And, like the Amazon, the Cerrado holds a critically important amount of carbon.

The misunderstanding about the importance of the Cerrado may be due, in part, to the location where its carbon is stored. The Cerrado undergoes a long dry season each year; trees and plants have adapted, growing downwards instead of upwards. About 70% of Cerrado biomass is underground.

& #8220; For most Brazilians, the Cerrado is the rainforest & #8216; ugly & #8217; as it has a long dry season and most trees do not reach much height, as in the Amazon & #8221; said Michael Becker, leader of the regional implementation team of the CEPF. It is also necessary to consider that the dimensions of the Cerrado are very difficult to understand & #8221 ;. Considering a north-south axis, it spreads beyond the distance between Chicago and Monterrey, Mexico, and has many different landscapes & #8221 ;.

They live within the varied ecosystems of the Cerrado 5 million people, namely, indigenous peoples, communities, traditional peoples and family producers. They depend on the region's natural resources for their livelihood. The importance of this biodiversity hotspot is not limited, however, to its borders. Rivers and rains within the Cerrado are connected to almost all of Brazil & #8211; bringing water to agriculture, hydropower and human consumption.

Rio dos Couros, Chapada dos Veadeiros, Goiás. Photo: © A. Amaral / IEB Collection

The second largest underground water reservoir in the world & #8211; The Guarani Aquifer & #8211; as well as the largest swamp in the world & #8211; the Pantanal & #8211; depend on the water flowing from the Cerrado.

Knowing all this, it is alarming to know that the destruction of the Cerrado is already underway: 50% of the hotspot has been cleared & #8211; mainly for large-scale agriculture & #8211; and a large part of what remains has already suffered some kind of interference. All of this, before the recent fires that swept the region.

There are, however, positive measures being taken to protect this critically important place:

  • The Brazilian coffee industry was suffering a severe blow to the hotspot, which is why the Forest and Agricultural Management and Certification Institute (IMAFLORA) co-founder of the Cerrado Water Consortium, an initiative that aims to make coffee production more sustainable, is promoting in the municipality of Patrocínio a payment scheme for environmental services (PSA), with replication plans in other parts of the Cerrado, if successful.
  • The buriti palm is found in abundance in Veredas do Cerrado and has great potential for income generation. However, it can be overexploited, so the Grande Sertão Family Farmers and Agroextractive Cooperative, a partner of CEPF Cerrado and the International Education Institute of Brazil, offers training to farmers in sustainable harvesting practices and efficient processing techniques. To date, more than 400 people have received training and the income paid to farmers has increased.
  • The beta version of Cerrado Knowledge Platform recently entered the air. Created by the Image Processing and Geoprocessing Laboratory (LAPIG / UFG), and funded by CEPF Cerrado, the platform consolidates geospatial and census knowledge about the region, providing conservationists, government and civil society with crucial data to help them make informed decisions.

    Kalunga Community in Vão de Almas. Photo: © Emeric Kalil / Quilombo Kalunga Association Collection
  • With the help of a grant from CEPF Cerrado, the Kalunga people & #8211; quilombola community in the state of Goiás & #8211; is using technology to map the area where they live, enabling them to better defend their lands and their traditional way of life.
  • Funatura, another partner financed by CEPF Cerrado, is working to establish 50 Private Natural Heritage Reserves (RPPNs) in the Cerrado, through the project Private Reserves in the Cerrado, which uses a variety of approaches, including showing landowners the untapped potential of ecotourism.

Efforts like these are encouraging, but the road to a healthy and prosperous Cerrado will be long.

& #8220; With half the Cerrado still preserved, this hotspot can be an excellent case study, proving that conservation, social rights and agricultural production can coexist and share the benefits of nature & #8221; said Becker. & #8220; CEPF is working towards this objective & #8221 ;.

Learn more about CEPF investments in Cerrado biodiversity hotspot.

Read the original version of the story, which is available in English, at site CEPF.

 

About CEPF Cerrado

In 2013, the CEPF Donor Council selected the Cerrado as one of the priority hotspots priority and US $ 8 million were allocated to investments in projects in the period from 2016 to 2021. Between the years 2016 and 2019, CEPF Cerrado made three calls to support projects in the Cerrado. Currently, the Fund has 55 projects, divided into Large and Small Projects.

In Brazil, CEPF relies on the performance of the Brazilian International Institute of Education (IEB), such as the Regional Implementation Team. IEB is a Brazilian third sector institution dedicated to training and qualifying people, as well as strengthening organizations in the areas of natural resource management, environmental and territorial management and other topics related to sustainability. The IEB operates in a network, seeks partnerships and promotes situations of interaction and exchange between civil society organizations, community associations, government bodies and the private sector. To learn more about the IEB's performance, visit: http://www.iieb.org.br/


The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund is a joint initiative of the French Development Agency, Conservation International, the European Union, Global Environmental Management, the Government of Japan and the World Bank. A key goal is to ensure that civil society is involved in biodiversity conservation.

 

 

Letter from CEPF Executive Director to Partners

Your work is more important than ever

 

via Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund

Dear CEPF partner,

In normal times, I spend a good part of the year traveling to the different biodiversity hotspots where we invest, getting to know the beneficiaries and visiting the locations of their projects. Since joining CEPF in 2015, I have been impressed by the frequency with which I hear partners from all over the world say: & #8220; CEPF is more than a funder; they are a family & #8221 ;. This means a lot to me and my team.

And now, our CEPF family is facing new challenges, just like the rest of the world. Know that we are committed to helping you navigate this uncertain time. Our highest priority is your safety, and we will work with you to review your project activities as needed.

As stressful as this moment may be, I am encouraged by some of the changes that I am already hearing about. The trade and consumption of wild animals was recently banned in a formal decision by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China and, in Vietnam, conservationists met to call for a national policy to do the same.

With the IUCN World Conservation Congress and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity scheduled, 2020 should be the & #8220; Year of Biodiversity & #8221 ;. Most of these meetings have now been postponed.

In a way, it's still the & #8220; Year of Biodiversity & #8221 ;, although not in the way we imagined. The world is seeing what can happen when humans interfere with natural systems. Our community has long understood the connection between human health and the health of Earth's ecosystems. Now we see clearly the importance of respecting nature.

My hope is that, after the current crisis subsides, we will find more governments, communities and others who are ready to support and participate in our efforts.

Prioritize social distance now and be ready for the moment when you can fully resume conservation activities, as the work we do is truly more important than it has ever been.

Sincerely,

Olivier Langrand

 

Read the original version of the letter, which is available in English, at site CEPF.

PS We want to hear from you. How has your work been impacted by the pandemic? Have you been able to find creative solutions to keep making progress? Please send your thoughts, experiences and stories to cepf@cepf.net.


The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund is a joint initiative of the French Development Agency, Conservation International, the European Union, Global Environmental Management, the Government of Japan and the World Bank. A key goal is to ensure that civil society is involved in biodiversity conservation.

 

PRESS RELEASE OF CEPF CERRADO 2017

We announced that the deadline for receiving Small Project applications was clearly set for 18:00 (Brasilia time) of the day November 08, 2017, on the sign-up entry page in the system PROSAS, as the image below.

 

PROSAS

 

For further questions on this matter, please formalize the demand as directed in site CEPF. 

Brasilia, November 9, 2017

 

Regional Implementation Team - RIT

CEPF Cerrado