Restoring Endangered Rainforest with Syntropic Agroforestry
Our newest field partners are members of a family living in two states: Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro, both within the Atlantic Forest of Brazil. They have begun to replant the endangered Jussara palm in the midst of their thriving farm, Fazenda Sertão.
Syntropy is a self-sufficient agroforestry system in which different plants interact with one another and, over time, form increasingly complex ecosystems and more fertile soils.
The photo below is from the delivery of the first 1,000 Jussara trees we sponsored in March 2021.
Juçara (pronounced Jussara) palms became endangered because they were continually being chopped down to harvest the delicacy “Heart of Palm.” Fortunately that’s no longer legal, and now the fruit of the palm is being harvested as a substitute for the popular açaí berries.
Juçara (Euterpe edulis Martius) is a palm tree widely distributed in the Atlantic Forest, which produces round fruits that recently gained worldwide attention, mainly for its resemblance to fruits of Euterpe oleracea and Euterpe precatoria Martius used to produce açaí. Juçara fruits stand out for their high nutritional value, which contain different kinds of nutrients, including fatty acids, protein, fibers, minerals and vitamins, and bioactive compounds such as anthocyanins, non-anthocyanin flavonoids and phenolic acids, which are associated with potent biological activities.
“Gilson and his wife, Marcylene have an agroforestry project in Aiuruoca, Minas Gerais, with a strong focus on Jussara. And because of him that when we started talking immediately it came to me as an option to start by planting Jussara. He and Alan have been planning for some time to bring these seedlings and begin the introduction it into the agroforestry here in the Fazenda Sertão, Rio de Janeiro.”
A block of their Jussara seedlings in Minas Gerais awaiting movement for transplanting to final sites in Rio de Janeiro (states).