Instituto Anjos do Sertão is located in Piauí, Brazil, within the world’s only Caatinga biome – South America’s largest seasonally dry tropical forest. During the long, dry season, trees and shrubs lose their leaves, and all you see is an expansive landscape of white tree trunks and bare bushes. As soon as the rain comes, the vibrant green returns if the ecosystem is in good health. However, Anjos do Sertão is experiencing an unhealthy ecosystem and the challenges they are facing stem from historical deforestation due to high global demand for their hardwood, overhunting of wildlife, and natural and man-made fires during the dry season. These environmental disruptions have all led to severe erosion, biodiversity loss, and a decline in livelihoods of the people who depend on this land to survive. Instituto Anjos do Sertão has been developed in order to restore their ecosystems and environment while enhancing livelihoods through agroforestry and bee keeping. They want to achieve this through knowledge exchange with the local inhabitants to restore this precious biome as a community.
The Caartinga biome contains some of the lowest Human Development Index (HDI) populations in Brazil. For this reason, it’s more critical than ever to repair the land so that both humans and wildlife can thrive. The big goal is to replicate the regenerative knowledge and techniques that have been practiced and cultivated at the Instituto Anjos do Sertão farm to build long term resilience for this ecosystem and its communities. The vision is to create an open-source farm with multiple restoration techniques and methodologies that can provide future generations with the tools to preserve their place on the planet, where everyone can experience living in a connected way with nature and fell deeply integrated with it, mind, body and soul. Since 2015, Instituto Anjos do Sertão has been experimenting with agroforestry, medicinal gardens, restoring degraded land, and honey production. Bees are especially important to this initiative not only for the maintenance of a healthy ecosystem but also for restoring local livelihoods. The Anjos do Sertão initiative provides bee boxes, equipment and technology for families to help them increase production and income, understand the importance of bees to the environment, and produce their own food with agroforestry.
Since 2015, the initiative has planted approximately 3000 trees and integrated organic cashew production in their agroforestry system, spanning over 300 ha. They now have 5 apiaries with more than 300 beehives, both forming a system that assists in the regeneration of the Caatinga biome. Over 100 earth restorers have participated in this regenerative work. These projects are leading up to a bigger plan to turn the restoration site into a center of natural knowledge and technology. The initiative has also created a partnership with Instituto MAHLE and Instituto Humanize to further their efforts.
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