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area of itacare
The head quarter of the ARFI is also the place of the first Portuguese landfall in the New World in 1500. It remained a sleepy area during early colonial times. The region was best known for its precious timbers, first for brazil wood, which was quickly depleted, and later for trees valued by builders of Portuguese warships and merchant vessels. This caused the Portuguese Crown to impose strict regulations on logging.
Brazilians first came to Southern Bahia in the nineteenth century, when the world chocolate market boomed. The costal river valleys were found to provide ideal growing conditions for cocoa, giving the region the name cocoa coast.
Today, after 500 years of development, the Northeastern Atlantic Forest has been literally chopped to pieces. However, while the rest of the region has lost nearly all it’s forest, Southern Bahia has conserved several important stretches of woods, as well as numerous small patches. Nearly all of the forest belongs to private owners. Because cocoa is grown in the shade of native overstory trees, the region remains a forest region. The times when local cocoa farmers were wealthy are history, so most of the landowners are willing to sell their precious land. Once sold, most of the land is converted in cattle ranches or logged for timber.
Recently some of the local landowners started to use their land for sustainable Guarana cultivations, because the creeper finds perfect conditions to grow in Southern Bahia. Guarana can only be harvested by hand and the world market literally screams for the natural and healthy energy seed, because it only grows in the Amazon- and the Atlantic Rainforest. Since the demand is so big, the prices for Guarana are very high and herewith guarantee a very good income for local farmers.
Help create an ECOLOGICAL CORRIDOR from our headquarters on Rio Contas all the way to the Serra do Conduru State Park 30 kilometers away, that will combine many fragmented patches to one piece.