Author Archives: thor

Micro-Agroforestry System on Máquina’s Land Máquina (Cleidson da Conceição) was born in the Alter do Chão area, and has been instrumental in the construction of ACRAA’s water system and nursery (he is a very skilled construction worker). He owns a small partially treed property in a predominantly forested area outside of the village (here to be exact: -2.530419, -54.956013). He requested fruit bearing trees to establish a small agroforestry system on his property, which ACRAA donated to him in April of 2022. Several ACRAA associates (Diego, Daki, Mica, Thor, and along with Máquina) went to this property on April 12 to assist with planting. The photos below illustrate this day. Note the planting was not finished on April 12. Soon we will present photos of the completed work.  Photo 1: The plants loaded ready to transport to Máquina’s property. Mica, an ACRAA associate and volunteer, is seen here. Apr.12/22. Photo…

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First Planting on the Ilha do Amor On February 4, 2022 we were honored to participate in tree planting cermorny on the Ilha do Amor (Photos 1 to 8). This musical cermony was led by Neca Borari, Chief of the local Borari indigenous comminity, with drumming assitance by Juvenal Ferreira also of this comminity. ACRAA provided five large Comandá seedlings, these small trees really, the parents of which we were planting along side [1]. Prior to planting the first tree Neca selected the five planting locations [2]. Each tree was also fitted with a protected wooden box-structure. The photos below were taken on this day, and below this a video recorded during planting of the very first tree (a later version will be placed here with subtitles)[3]. Photos taken three and ten weeks after planting are also shown below (Photos 9 and 10). [1] The seeds used to grow these…

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The ACRAA Center Building This section details a conceptual design for our future Center. This bulding will act as a meeting place and venue for classes and workshops, and it’s location next to the ACRAA nursery means many opportunities for hands-on learning experiences will be created.  Figure 1 below provides a map of the ACRAA property, which consists of two separately titled lots (an east and west lot, separated by the wall shown). Note that there is considerable area available for future expansion of the nursery area (east lot). Figure 2 details a conceptual design for this building. Note that Thor (the current property owner here) is prepared to enter into the required legal agreements with ACRAA (the official NGO once formed), such that it is  guaranteed this structure is only used for the purpose intended. This may consist of a long-term contract, or perhaps donation/sale of the property to…

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How to Water Plants in the Nursery One might think watering potted plants in a nursery is a straight-forward task, and it is. But to do this properly and in a timely manner, several things need to be considered. First some background with regards to how much water needs to be applied to soil to effect thorough watering, and without applying an unnecessary amount of water. Soil Porosity Soil porosity is the percentage of the total soil volume that consists of pore spaces – i.e., space either filled with air or water. As a general “rule of thumb” the porosity of an “ideal” soil, one that has a mineral component consisting of a mixture of sand, silt and clay and not overly compacted – is about 50%.  

Healing the Land with Trees There are a number of ways trees (and shrubs [1]) used in agroforestry systems cam improve soil fertility and help heal degraded land. First, many trees species used in agroforestry systems perform biological nitrogen fixation (through symbiotic associations with microbes in thier roots). This nitrogen, thus converted in organic form, is made available to other plants/crops through litterfall and nutrient cycling processes. Trees are also deep-rooted plants. As such they can access nutrients (such as nitrogen, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus) in the subsoil – these nutrients out of the reach of more shallow rooted agronomic plants. Again, these nutrients are made available to these agronomic plants through litterfall and nutrient cycling processes (this is referred to as “nutrient pumping” in the literature). The large amount of litterfall produced by trees (both due leaves and root turnover) improves soil organic matter content. This combined with the…

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Building Connections For ACRAA to succeed in its objectives, alliances must be built between various local, national and international groups and organizations. This includes local indigenous groups, universities, public institutions, NGOs, community groups and people interested in the cause. We will seek to carry out projects together with educational institutions in the region and in other locations that are interested in ACRAA projects. Reforestation and agroforestry projects will be coordinated with these institutions. In the project “Escola de Campo de Reflorestamento Tropical” (Tropical Reforestation Field School), this connection with national and international universities will be fundamental for its realization, as we will seek to create a practical teaching center where students from these institutions will take courses and experiences in partnership with ACRAA. There are 13  indigenous ethnicities in the Santarém region, where we will seek to connect with each one in diversified projects. Regarding indigenous groups, the Borari are…

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ACRAA Water Tower / System When the ACRAA property was purchased, an artesian well was already in place. The first year of nursery operations was arduous, however, as all the water needed for our nursery had to be pumped manually. Therefore, in January of 2021 construction of a water system began in earnest. Photos 1 to 10 show the construction – the system is functioning wonderfully now. Photo 1: Raising the posts for our water tower. From front to back – Máquina, Jaci, Thor, Diêgo. Jan. 21, 2021. Photo 2: All four posts standing. Jan. 2021. Photo 3: Máquina and Diêgo starting the top platform. Jan. 26, 2021. Photo 4: Roof ready for the palm leaves. Mar. 10, 2021. Photo 5: Diêgo inspecting the trusses. Mar.11, 2021. Photo 6: Jaci, Daki and Diêgo preparing (opening) the palm leaves. Mar.12, 2021. Photo 7: Jaci securing the palm leaves. Mar.17, 2021. Photo…

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ACRAA Forest Reserve / Model Agroforestry Research Farm Project Status: Conceptual Phase Looking further down the road we at ACRAA do intend to undertake a larger-scale forest restoration and agroforestry development project. This we feel should be possible through the direct purchase of agricultural land (e.g., soya acreage). This initiative will be called the ACRAA Forest Reserve / Model Agroforestry Research Farm. A suitable area to initiate such an endeavour might be around 100 ha, purchased in an area just south of Alter do Chão called Belterra (numerous soya farms are present in this area). If ACRAA were to obtain such a property, the first thing we would do is establish an outpost research station – and begin collection of baseline data with regards to current carbon storage in vegetation and soil. Our connections with university and college environmental programs by this time will be beneficial. We would also start…

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Education Education is the third branch of the ACRAA tree. There will be many elements to this branch, one of which is this website itself. This is because as time goes on we will include more and more detailed technical content – information that will help anyone else interested in undertaking reforestation and agroforestry projects in the humid tropics, or even replicating what we are doing here in Alter do Chão.  Another important element is the work we are doing with local schools to support education in these areas. Here we very excited about the alliance we have formed the local Borari schools here in Alter do Chão. Our first work with these schools occured on April 18 and 20, 2022 – in conjunction with celebrations in relation to Indigenous Peoples Week here. See our ACRAA at School Program to learn more. But a critical component of our educational activities will be…

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Plants for Use in Agroforestry Systems and Urban Afforestation About half the ACRAA nursery is devoted to the production of trees/plants for use in agroforestry systems and urban afforestation. Here we do not follow the same strict guidelines in terms of using only “native” species and seedlot management, as we do with our restoration plants, as these plants are for an “agricultural” application. However, all the species propagated are from the seeds of locally/regionally grown species – so although some of these may not be originally native to this area, all are now naturalized to the area (mature fruit producing trees present in the region). We do have a policy of not propagating seed brought from places outside the local region (i.e, other parts of Brazil or beyond). Currently, our selection of agroforestry plants includes 31 species and a total of around 350 plants. Most are fruit trees, but medicinal…

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