The Cerrado

The Cerrado is a vast and diverse biome that covers over 20% of Brazil, boasting a range of ecosystems from dense forests to sprawling grasslands. As the largest savannah in South America, the cerrado’s name, meaning ‘closed,’ reflects the region’s previous perception by Brazilians as undesirable land. However, in the 1960s, American farmers revolutionized the area by conditioning the soil with chemical lime, vastly improving its growing capacity and transforming it into a thriving agricultural hub.

Regardless of its newfound significance, the cerrado is now one of Brazil’s most threatened ecosystems. Half of the biome has already been destroyed for the sake of soy farms and cattle ranches, with an alarming two million hectares lost every year to agriculture and pasture. Tragically, experts predict that the cerrado may face complete eradication by 2030.

Despite being overlooked by conservationists and environmentalists for years, the cerrado is a richly diverse environment, even compared to its neighboring biologically-rich ecosystems, the Amazon and the almost extinct Atlantic Forest. The cerrado boasts over 10,000 plant species, virtually half exclusive to the region. Additionally, nearly a thousand bird species and over 300 mammal species call the cerrado their home.

Moreover, researchers have recently recognized the cerrado’s importance in maintaining Brazil’s waterways, as the headwaters of many rivers begin in this biome. Furthermore, the cerrado plays a crucial role in carbon cycling, with some years seeing carbon emissions from cerrado destruction exceeding those from the Amazon. Thus, the cerrado’s significance extends beyond its agricultural importance, making it an essential ecosystem to conserve Brazil’s biodiversity and climate.

Wonders of Cerrado, Yellow Beauty

Acrylic on canvas.

Wonders of Cerrado, On the Edge of the Swamp

Acrylic on canvas.

Wonders of Cerrado, Paradise

Acrylic on canvas.

Wonders of Cerrado, On fire

Acrylic on canvas.

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