I have a farm in Garrafão, district of Santa Maria do Jetibá, ES, with an altitude of 1,200m, with an area of 25 ha, 2.5 ha in native forest and the rest in capoeira, it has a good spring with lots of water, undulating topography easy mechanization and even irrigation by gravity. I intend to implement a reforestation project with Portuguese chestnut, aiming at production and carbon credit. Can I enjoy the capoeira or do I have to end it and cover the ground with other vegetation?
– Question from Wanderley Batista by email
Wanderley sent us this question, which is so interesting that it will be answered in two parts:
About the legislation:
The first step you have to take is to contact the environmental agency in your region. This is because the understanding of environmental/forest legislation will depend on the inspector's reading. As your property is located in the Atlantic Forest, which, as it is highly threatened and fragmented, has greater environmental protection, most likely you will need authorization to manage your capoeira, if it is old (that is, with more than 5 years in environmental regeneration), even if it is outside the APP or Legal Reserve, and submit a Management Plan before being able to carry out any operation.
It is worth mentioning that it is great that you have this area of capoeira on your property, as this means that your area is in the process of recovery, that is, that your soil is recovering, the plants are emitting roots and cycling nutrients in depth, it has biomass production, ground cover and initial shading. In addition to the discussion on environmental and forestry legislation, which will depend on the legal procedure that must be followed according to the environmental agency in your region, technically speaking, the ideal is to manage this area and there are two options for that.
The first option, for an old capoeira area (with more than five years of regeneration), after fulfilling the necessary legal procedures, such as the elaboration of the Management Plan, involves identify pioneer species, lianas and vines, so that they can be managed following the logic of natural succession, that is, pruning, grinding or cutting these plants with a chainsaw, machete or shredder for the production of biomass. These are risky operations that are a lot of work, as they require the selection of species and care for the others, but they are rewarding, because after this process you can enrich the natural regeneration with secondary species and take advantage of the remaining species. After this selective pruning process for biomass production, it is time to identify the remaining secondary or commercial interest species. This mapping of individuals is important for planning the planting of commercial exotic species, such as the Portuguese chestnut. This species needs a very large spacing, 12x12m or 15X15m, so it will also be time to decide how to plant understory enrichment or which other crops can be part of your system.
The second option considers a not-so-old or “weak” capoeira, less than five years old. In this case, depending on what environmental and forestry legislation allows, you may be able to enter the area with a brush or shredder to use all material as biomass for initial ground cover, following the logic of green fertilization of foundation, in which the dense planting of fertilizer species is carried out to carve the following year and obtain a dense soil cover. After carving all the material, the planting and planning lines of the system can be marked.
Choosing one of the two options will depend on the level of regeneration your area is in, consultation with the environmental agency in your region and how much you are willing to invest in this process, either legally (presentation of the Management Plan) or operationally. All these factors, starting with the visit to the environmental agency in your region, should be considered for an assertive decision that is beneficial for everyone in the long term.