Nordesta project’s objective is to preserve water resources through the reforestation of the surrounding and banks of São Francisco River in the Minas Gerais State in Brazil.
This project is led by the Nordesta Association, which operates every single stage of the program, from collecting seeds to growing them, until planting and maintaining the sites. They work in collaboration with local farmers and landholders.
Heavy growth and exploitation of agricultural activities (coffee, cattle farming) in the Minas Gerais region, has leaded to the removal of trees along the Sao Francisco River. This has caused erosion; water pollution and biodiversity loss in the area.
Tree planting along the shores of this river intends to preserve water, both in terms of quality and quantity. This is a major issue since Sao Francisco River is Brazil’s third most important river, and a third of its population depend on it.
More than 350 000 trees have already been planted. The benefits of planting trees in this area are:
– Improving water in terms of quality and quantity in Sao Francisco River and its sources
– Regenerating degraded areas and enhancing soil quality: preventing erosion, soil enrichment
– Maintaining biodiversity and allowing the reintegration of animal species such as the manned wolf, diving ducks, monkeys and others
– Helping inhabitants comply with Brazil’s environmental law
Another goal is to promote organic farming, both inside their activities and with local farmers. This way, Nordesta and local farmers could obtain organic certifications for their projects.
Additionally, sustainable economic activities such as beekeeping are being developed. Beekeeping not only diversifies farmers’ incomes but also increases agricultural yields through pollination.
LocationMinas Gerais region, Brazil
Agroforestry and reforestation
Local partnerNordesta Association
Participants76 Local farmers and landowners
Achievements586,744 trees planted
supply chainFruits and Vegetables , Water
Nordesta Switzerland is an NGO created by ornithologist Anita Studer to preserve the rainforests in Brazil. In 2005, Anita visits the Minas Gerais and decided to create a reforestation project along the sources of São Francisco River. She meets Neuza Falco Galvao who creates the Arcos Nordesta association and sets its eponymous nursery. Since then, over 260,000 trees have been planted, the return of species such as the maned wolf and various monkeys is regularly observed and environmental education and beekeeping projects are ongoing.
Participants are mainly farmers or smallholders (2-10 ha) with a salary of about 200 € / month, or medium size, with a salary between € 300 and € 900 / month. They willingly participate in the project for several reasons: land suffering from erosion, to increase the ecological value of their land (eco-tourism, regeneration agricultural sources, landscape, etc.). With this program, they’re able to comply with the Brazilian environmental standard that demands the non-cultivation of the river banks and sources and its revegetation, with no costs.