The Buritis Brooks Nature Reserve is an 84-hectare private reserve established in 2020 to “generate nature” in the Chapada dos Veadeiros Landscape. The reserve aims to protect fauna and flora biodiversity, maintain and increase carbon stocks, protect water sources and courses, and catalyze local development. The Reserve serves as an ecological corridor between the Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park and other adjacent private areas. It harbors critically endangered fauna species such as the maned wolf, the giant anteater, and the puma, and over 130 of trees alone, many of which endemic. The Reserve vegetation stores around 15,000 tons of CO2 and protects watercourses and water springs that flow into the Almas watershed, critical for water use in the region.
The Reserve was established in an area used for cattle ranching for decades, which led to severe degradation of soil, vegetation, and water. It is implementing ecological restoration to bring vegetation, soil and water sources back to life, as well as to enhance the habitat for fauna. The Reserve is threatened by constant fires in the region, requiring integrated fire management to protect it and its neighbors. The Reserve management is guided by the deployment of scientific knowledge combined with traditional knowledge of local communities.
The Reserve aims to be a catalyzer of local development and sustainable management of natural resources in the Cavalcante municipality (690,000 hectares) and beyond in the Chapada dos Veadeiros landscape and the Pouso Alto Environmental Protected Area (750,000 hectares). The Reserve collaborates with local government, local communities, NGOs, and other private landholders to scale up actions beyond its boundaries. Existing partnerships include the Network for Participatory Fauna Monitoring (www.reddmonitoria.org) of which the Reserve is a founding member, the municipality of Cavalcante, and the Network of Seed Collectors in the Cerrado (https://redecerrado.org.br/entidades/rede-sementes/).
The Reserve plans to promote environmental education and awareness raising of the young population on restoration, wildlife management and fauna biodiversity to influence future behavior. This is expected to enhance local people’s pride for the environment and territory, leading to long-term local support to conservation.
Producing Nature in the Heart of Brazil’s Cerrado
20 year vision
The Chapada dos Veadeiros landscape provides healthy ecosystem services, including water, carbon storage and biodiversity, to its local population and to the world. The local population in the Chapada dos Veadeiros derive significant benefits from conservation, sustainable use, and restoration of these ecosystem services through nature-based tourism, sustainable agriculture including agroforestry systems and payments for ecosystem services. The local population is proud to be the steward of the one of the last remaining large tracts of pristine Cerrado ecosystem with fully functional ecological relations. Large tracts of degraded Cerrado, formerly converted for cattle farming or commercial agriculture, are now back to multi-functional land uses, including areas for conservation and sustainable production. Agriculture producers of commercial crops such as soy beans and eucalyptus have embraces best agriculture practices, significantly reducing their impact on the landscape ecosystem services.
Healthy resilient tropical savanna
The Reserve is working with the municipal and state governments to demonstrate the role of private conservation in building resilience and conserving biodiversity.
The Reserve is leading efforts to collaborate with private landholders and local communities on conservation and sustainable use of the Cerrado. The Reserve has led the establishment of the Network of Participatory Fauna Monitoring in the Chapada dos Veadeiros landscape (www.redemonitoria.org), a network of private landholders, government, academia and NGOs to promote conservation of the endangered fauna of the Chapada dos Veadeiros, by scaling up efforts of participatory monitoring and citizen science. In July 2021, the Reserve led a workshop with local authorities, academia, and private landholders on fauna monitoring to establish the Network.
The Reserve is also seeking to support other actors within the landscape, including in raising funds for their operations. One example is the partnership with the municipal firefighting brigade (BRIVAC). The Reserve is connecting them to potential sources of funding t0 ensure the sustainability of their activities.
The Reserve is also starting a partnership with the Cerrado seeds network to scale up restoration.
Local communities and Reserve owner join hand to monitor fauna
In the Chapada dos Veadeiros landscape local population rely on small-scale agriculture for their subsistence and for cash. Changes in climate are already impacting local agriculture, as uncertain rainfall patterns make it harder for people to decide when to plant and harvest, and what crops to select. More severe wildfires cause significant damage. Ecological restoration of degraded land can strengthen ecosystem resilience by making land more productive, reducing stress on watercourses, sequestering carbon, and increasing the habitat for fauna. Restoration can lead to significant demand for seeds – in turn creating local jobs for seed collectors and creating incentives for the conservation of native Cerrado and increasing social resilience. Fire management allows landholders to avoid wildfires, reducing local vulnerability. Knowledge will be disseminated in Chapada dos Veadeiros landscape to influence a significant number of landholders.
Collecting local fruits from healthy Cerrado
The project will promote ecological restoration of the degraded Cerrado lands, using different methods (seedlings, direct seeding and assisted natural regeneration), and management of fires. Ecological restoration seeks to mimic, as much as possible, the reference ecosystems that existed prior to their degradation. The restoration methods will employ many native species (e.g. Dypterix alata, Jenipapa americana, Hymnea stignocarpa, etc.), adopting different methods according to characteristics of the degraded area. The work will be led by team of experts with extensive field experience and members of the local community with traditional knowledge. The restored land will increase land productivity, improve waterflow and increase habitat for fauna. These results will be scientifically measured. Fauna will be monitored using camera traps, as part of the ongoing Participatory Fauna Monitoring network (www.redemonitoria.org). Restoration areas will be demonstration plots to influence external partners and landholders interested in restoration.
The helmeted manikin, an endemic species of this area
The Reserve seeks to promote sustainable use of Cerrado products, including value addition to products from agroextractivism.
This includes the promotion of nature-based and scientific tourism, particularly linked to the large-scale fauna of the region. Soon trainings on bird watching and citizen engagement for scientific monitoring will be conducted.
Value chains of Cerrado product include baru, mangaba and pequi. The Reserve is seeking to collaborate with other actors to promote access to finance, business skills strengthening and access to markets to promote these value chains.
Local businesses selling local produce
- Conserving biodiversity in areas that are still pristine
- Carrying out a fauna inventory in 2021.
- Setting up of camera traps for monitoring fauna, particularly mammals.
- Partnership with a university to monitor the behavior of mammals.
- Bird watching, organizing citizen science events for records.
- Carrying out a floristic diagnosis and forest inventory in 2021.
- Monitoring the restoration of degraded areas (use of drone, field visit).
Setting up camera traps to monitor biodiversity
- Sustainable use of Cerrado products and services
- Build awareness of young students (with a focus on women) on resilience issues, including fire, land degradation and the role of biodiversity.
- Build a system of interpretive trails within the Buritis Brooks Nature Reserve to expose the target audience to the topics through regular field visits.
- Promote the use of citizen engagement technologies, such as biodiversity monitoring with smart phones, to engage young students.
Children learning about the Cerrado
- Pilot ecological restoration of degraded lands through different methods: a. seedling planting; b. direct seeding; c. assisted natural regeneration in selected demonstration plots.
- Undertake integrated fire management in the selected demonstration plots using different methods, i.e. fire breaks, early controlled burning. This will be conducted by the Cavalcante Fire Brigade which has years of experience.