Replacing cattle farming with agroforestry to restore biodiversity
Olinda Muniz Silva Wanderley, whose indigenous name is Yawar Tupinamba, and Samuel Maurício de Oliveira Wanderley founded Projeto Kaapora in 2016 and have since made it their life's work to ecologically restore and sustainably manage their land. The aim is to enable the return of the lost biodiversity of the Mata Atlântica.
They chose the location of their project in the reserve carefully and exchanged it for their original land, as this piece of land is located in the heart of areas of the reserve that have been severely degraded by cattle ranching. Olinda and Samuel want to demonstrate that alternative land use models that preserve biodiversity are economically viable. Therefore, the cattle ranching that is still practiced is to be gradually replaced by an agroforestry system. A forest fragment of 2.5 hectares will be protected and expanded. In addition, an own beekeeping is to be established. Since 2016, Olinda and Samuel have started restoration on the first 1.2 hectares. 1200 native tree species, 600 cacao trees and 300 other fruit-bearing tree seedlings have been planted. The reforestation technique consists of the initial construction of a border barrier, a "living fence" consisting of Sansão do Campo (Mimosa caesalpiniaefolia) and Aroeira (Schinus terebinthifolia) as erosion control and protection of free-roaming cattle. This is followed by the planting of fast-growing shade plants such as cassava (over 1500 seedlings) and banana shrubs to suppress the growth of the dominant grass species. The seedlings planted in the Kaapora project have so far been homegrown from seed or donated by other community members. In 2019, the indigenous community on the project area decided to establish the first environmental protection area, APA Kaapora, within Terra Indigena. Currently, APA Kaapora covers the entire 27 hectares of the project area. The goals of the project are not limited to the restoration of their own land; the Kaapora project is intended to act as a flagship project for the entire community. Olinda and Samuel believe that indigenous roots and the idea of forest conservation are still present in the community and that many families just need to be shown possible alternatives to current agricultural practices.
Projeto Kaapora, the first environmental reserve on the indigenous territory