The Secretary of Agriculture of Pará is trying to repopulate the southern region of Marabá with the castanheira tree, which is threatened to extinction. The purpose is to jump-start a regional business model which has 150 years of history behind it, collecting castanhas-do-Pará (Brazil nuts) for cash.
Considered the “queen” of the forest for reaching up to 200 ft tall, the famous tree used to be the base of the local extractive economy. In the 1970’s, over 70 thousand tons of castanhas-do-Pará were taken out of the region per year. These days, the figure rests at around 20 thousand tons per year.
The Secretary started up a project which had been on hold for six years and hired 45 people to learn how to plant the giant tree. Brazil nuts come from this tree and when they fall to the ground, they are collected, dried and sheared. The problem with new growth in the area of Marabá is that nearly 90% of the Brazil nuts that fall, are collected, therefore cutting short the opportunity for new trees to grow.
Even of those that fall naturally, only 50% germinate to form new trees. On the other end, getting the Brazil nut ready to sell is a multistep process which includes shearing, chemically protecting and cleaning. With some training, the new team will be able to plant new trees on their own and with time, both the trees and the bounty will grow.
– O Globo (translated by me)