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Shades of green (II)

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Sustainable Agriculture in Brazil

CHAPTER 2 – PRESERVED AREAS IN BRAZIL

NATIVE VEGETATION CONSERVATION

Caatinga

Brazil is and will be increasingly recognized as an agricultural and environmental power. The en­tire grain (corn, rice, soybeans, beans … ), fiber (cotton, cellulose … ) and agro-energy (sugarcane, energy forests … ) production occupies 9% of the country, entailing 1.2% of planted forests and 7.8% of crops. Farmers preserve more native vegetation within their property (20.5% of Brazil) than all fully protected and preserved areas combined (13%, not counting the APAs)!

The total of areas for the preservation and protection of native vegetation (ECUs, lndigenous Lands, Military Areas, vacant lands and rural properties) represent 66.3% of the national territory, as stated above and can be visualized on the pie chart in Graph 4.

What if native grasslands were added to the total area of protected and preserved native vegetation? The native pasturelands are ranching agro-systems where the original flora and vegetation are preserved, normally using extensive animal grazing.

No one planted the vegetation in the Pantanal, the Pampa, the Caatinga, the Cerrado or the High-Lland Fields. There are enclaves that have converted native pasturelands into planted ones in these ecosys­tems, but, even so, they can be considered spotty.

Most natural pasture areas are exploited sustainably using different livestock systems entailing small and large domestic ruminants. Much of the native vegetation has been kept in balance and preserved by cattle ranching for centuries. Adding preserved natural pasturelands to areas already dedicated to protec­tion and preservation, the total is 74.3%, almost 75% of the national territory (Graph 5).

To the protected and preserved areas green shades palette are added the beautiful and varied native pasturelands green tonalities from the Pampa, the Caatinga, the Pantanal, the Cerrados and the High-Land Fields.

Vegetation kept in balance using animal husbandry does exist in other countries, but in Brazil, its existence is practically synonymous with the biomes where it occurs, as in the Pampa, the Caatinga, or the High-Land Fields. lts size (8.0%) is similar to that of areas cultivated with crops in the country (7.8%).

For these reasons, the existence and environmental importance of the vegetation kept as native pastureland in different biomes deserves highlighting. But, for the purposes of comparison with the allo­cation, use and occupation of lands in other countries, the vegetation conserved in the native pasturelands is included in all the grasslands of the country without distinction.

 

From the book: Shades of Green – Sustainable Agriculture in Brazil (2018)

© Reproduction is authorized provided the source is acknowledged.

 

Positions and concepts emitted in signed articles are the sole responsibility of their authors.

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