A view of the reserve through using the internet facility Google Earth clearly illustrates the need to help the Xavante community preserve and regenerate species of the Cerrado and offer a positive initiative to the impact of the soya cultivation. A sustainable initiative has been proposed to create Tree Nurseries within the reservation.
The Xavante live in an area of Cerrado, a rich and diverse South American dry, open forest ecosystem. This tribal group live on indigenous reserves in the State of Mato Grosso, Brazil. In recent years the impact of the soya boom has had a devastating effect on them. The reserve is today surrounded by large-scale soya farms, which have completely destroyed the natural flora and fauna. The population of wild animals and birds within the reserve has fallen dramatically as a result of this rapid neighbouring deforestation, making the main species which the Xavante used to hunt as their principal protein source scarce. This has had a severe impact on their self sufficiency and food security.
Traditional knowledge and subsistence methods kept the indigenous reserves as a haven for the fauna and flora of the cerrado, but these recent developments have seriously undermined this. The Xavante Indians, especially the elders of the tribe, have a remarkable knowledge of the medicinal properties and nutritional value of these plants, and it is important that this knowledge is recognised, retained and passed on to the younger generations.
The objectives are to regenerate species and enrich the forest within the reserve, and to generate a sustainable income for the community from selling seedlings and saplings for reforestation and garden use by nearby non-Indians, together with planting services. With an growing awareness of environmental concerns in the increasingly prosperous general population of Mato Grosso, there is a market for these products to both rural communities and to the urban community of Barra do Garças, the nearest town.
XAVANTE SEED BANK & TREE NURSERY
Location: Mato Grosso, Brazil.
The implementation phase of the tree nursery project is planned to take three years. Agronomist Mario Friedlander will work with the community to clear the area for the nursery and to construct the infrastructure required. In parallel to the physical work, Mario will undertake a training programme, working with the community leaders to build on their existing knowledge of the plants and trees, and to train them in appropriate aspects of modern agronomy practice.
The traditional way of life of the Xavante was semi-nomadic. When the area they were using to grow crops became exhausted, they would simply move on and leave the area to regenerate naturally. With the geographical restrictions imposed when the reserves were created this is no longer viable, so they need to adopt a more proactive approach to regeneration and fertility management, and therefore need training and help to understand the new methods needed.
Once this pilot scheme has become established the model will be expanded to include additional villages, enriching the cerrados forests and improving the nutrition of the Xavante people while helping to reinforce their traditional culture.
The commercial part of the project will require the acquisition of a vehicle to enable the community to transport their merchandise to market, and to transport tools, equipment and personnel to reforestation jobs.
The budget for this initial three-year project is UK£58,000. The first year budget will be UK£26,700, with further sums of UK£16,000 in the second year and UK£15,300 in the third. Further projects will be required for other communities depending on the uptake of the model.
It is anticipated that the project will begin to generate an income in the second year, but it is likely that this initial project will need to be extended for a further three years before it will become fully self-financing.
The funding required for the first year, including the initial establishment of the tree nursery and implementation of the educational program, is £16,700.
1) Implementing the infrastructure of the tree nursery: £3,000
2) Tools for maintaining the tree nursery: £1,200
3) Agronomist's consultancy fees, travel, subsistence £7,500
4) Tribes Alive/IPCST project monitoring and co-ordination: £5,000.00
5) UK£10,000 will be required in the first year for the purchase of a suitable second-hand vehicle.
The project is supported with a grant of £5000.00 from the organisation "Ape" Artists Project Earth