Women-led Reforestation in Brazil: Trees and Supporting Plants

In Ceará, MST and the Central Cooperative of Areas of Agrarian Reform of Ceará (CCA) have organized several campaigns, mobilizing peasant families towards food sovereignty, agroecology, and boosting the  autonomy of peasant women by valuing their expertise in the construction of knowledge exchange processes from peasant to peasant. They also aim at the recovery of degraded areas, riparian forests and the enrichment of capoeira areas. And, to take care of legal reserves.

Reforestation along with agroforestry systems are key agroecological strategies to make production more sustainable in dry areas. Trees alter the microclimate, lowering the average temperature, delaying soil moisture loss and improving water retention. Large areas planted with trees and agroforestry systems can even improve the local climate. The leaves from the trees provide food for animals in the dry season. Given the warm climate in Ceará, an area with trees, compared to one without trees, can make the difference in shade, soil and overall production. 

Because much of the region has  shallow soil, rainwater tends to  runoff instead of infiltrating and remaining in the underground layers of soils or even in rivers that often end up drying out when the rainy season passes. The native plants of the region have adaptive characteristics to this climatic condition: many of them detach their leaves to protect themselves from water loss due to lack of rain and strong sunlight during the dry period of the year, others have structures in the stem or roots for water reserve, many are thorny with no leaves like the cactus, and in others, the thorns guarantee some protection against herbivorous animals when their leaves regrow as soon as the rainy cycle starts again.

Grow Ahead and CCA Ceará have showcased 5 of the trees planted  in the Women-led Reforestation in Brazil. We show you how these trees look like in their environment and the important role they play in the caatinga biome (an ecoregion characterized by subtropical vegetation in interior northeastern Brazil).

Grow Ahead teams up with community organizations around the world to support projects that improve the environment and community livelihoods.