This palm tree almost disappeared. Now the berries help to save it
These small, round, and blue-colored berries are easy to recognize as blueberries. But the juçara berry is not just a simple berry, it is helping to recover Brazil’s ruined Atlantic Forest.
The rich rainforest once spread over 2,500 miles along the Brazilian coast, beginning from Paraguay ending to Argentina. And once upon a time, the Atlantic Forest occupied 12% of the entire territory of Brazil. But now cultivation and active urban growth have caused deforestation, and today only 7% of the forest that once existed remains.
But the palm tree, where the juçara grows, is threatened not only by deforestation. The fact is that in the trunk of a palm tree there is a soft fruit, which is a delicacy. But the saddest thing is when the fruit is removed from the palm tree, the tree dies. Previously, local tribes used wood for food and wood, but then this did not threaten its survival. But now worldwide demand has led to the extinction of this tree in parts of the Atlantic Forest.
Juçaí, a Brazilian company, says it has found a solution to this problem. You just need to pick berries from the tree, not the fruit inside the palms. Thanks to this, the tree can stand, producing fruit every year and the forest will grow.
The Atlantic Forest is protected by law, reforestation advocates say and regularly support reforestation actions. Juçaí, founded in 2015, works with nearly 900 farming families who plant new trees and care for existing ones. Meanwhile, Juçaí manages the logistics and provides the equipment needed to pulp the berries and separate the seeds, which are then planted.
The economic value of the tree encourages farmers to conserve it, and this benefits the entire ecosystem. The tree is important not only in terms of forest cover and how it protects the soil but also for fauna, especially birds, ecologists say. In addition, farmers leave a third of the berries on the tree at each harvest to support wildlife.
These berries are very popular among lovers of proper nutrition. They also improve heart health. A certified organic and vegan product, Juçaí currently sells its products in both supermarkets and health food stores in Brazil, Chile, and Canada. In the near future, it hopes to expand it into other markets all over the world.
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