Anyone contributing in the destruction of Brazil’s Amazon forests is required to replant an equivalent number of trees elsewhere. Indigenous groups are helping fulfill this “huge demand for seed”, boosting both their income and their food security.
Part of the Xingu Seed Network, more than 560 collectors, most of which are women, from indigenous communities across Brazil have gathered nearly 250 tonnes of seeds from 220 native species since 2008. As a result, they’ve managed to earn an income and learn how to harvest food from their home forests – a useful resource that has helped protect them during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Through the seed network, people have gotten back to their forests to learn the variety of fruits, leaves and roots the ancients used to know how to eat,” explains Bruna Ferreira, director of the Xingu Seed Network, to the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “They are getting that knowledge back and they are eating a lot more of those resources.”
Additionally, the indigenous collectors have discovered a seeding technique that makes it possible to plant ten times as many trees per hectare as using seedlings, at half the cost. Ferreira adds that the seeds collected are adapted to each ecosystem and help improve climate-resilience.