It’s time to celebrate the Cerrado and its wealth!
The vivid colours of the regional plant life, including calliandra, paepalanthus, tabebuia, courbaril and pequi, contrasted against the deep blue of the sky will provide the backdrop tomorrow for the opening of the 18th Meeting of the Peoples of the Grande Sertão Veredas, which will be held until July 14 in the national park of the same name, located in the municipality of Chapada Gaúcha in the north of Minas Gerais State.
Over 8,000 people are expected to attend the four-day event, the aim of which is to celebrate the socio-biodiversity – or natural, cultural and social wealth – of the Cerrado. An intensive program of cultural events is planned (see the complete list of events in the side box), involving shows by percussionists, country dancers and animal herders, and typical regional dances, including styles such as lundu, catira, sussa, caninha and manzuá. This wide range of activities will be rounded off with round table discussions, theatrical performances, craft fairs and stalls selling local delicacies.
Highlights of the event include the Reis do Divino (“Kings of the Divine”) festival, in which worshippers pay their devotion to the Holy Spirit, and the arrival on July 13 of the hikers taking part in the 7th edition of the Sertão Trek from Sagarana to the Grande Sertão Veredas, which will be completed by 100 people from all over Brazil.
“The meeting represents an opportunity to celebrate the Cerrado’s wealth of fauna and flora, and is essential so that communities can strengthen their cultural identity and exchange experience. Moreover, the event is important as it helps to generate income and develop local communities and family farming,” explains Kolbe Soares, conservation analyst for WWF-Brazil. “For visitors, this is a unique opportunity to get to know the landscape of the Cerrado and experience the culture of this biome,” he added.
The municipality of Chapada Gaúcha is part of the Urucuia Grande Sertão Tourism Circuit and the Sertão Veredas Peruaçu Mosaic. It has a population of just over 13,000 and its economy is based on agribusiness (mainly soy and grass seeds) and family farming. The municipality has a lot of potential to develop in terms of ecological and cultural tourism and the sustainable use of produce from the Cerrado.
WWF-Brazil and the socio-biodiversity of the Cerrado
The sustainable extraction of plants is one of the main alternatives available to guarantee the preservation of the Cerrado landscape. And on top of ensuring conservation, this provides a source of income for local communities and encourages the permanence of the biome’s traditional people. With this focus in mind, WWF-Brazil has been active in the region since 2010, benefitting from the support of the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) and the Humanize Institute.
Actions are developed to encourage the adoption of best practice in agricultural production and cattle-raising, the implementation of social technology and agroforestry management systems, and to strengthen the integrated management of Protected Areas and other conservation sites. WWF-Brazil is also involved in territorial mapping activities focused on the systematic planning of conservation in the Cerrado, and supports the sustainable sale of native fruits by extractivism cooperatives and community associations.