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How to save the south brazil native pine forests by making the species more commercially interesting?

Image credit: Image by Germano Roberto Schüür, obtained from https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arauc%C3%A1ria

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mschiav3
mschiav3 Jun 02, 2022
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How to increase the value of and make the Araucaria tree forestation a very profitable activity?
South Brazil, encompassing the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Paraná, is a region unique by its biome and forrest formation, specifically the "mata atlantica de ombrófila mista" (would be somewhat translated as mixed-humid atlantic forrest) which compose its landscapes. The ombrófila mista forrests used to be very large in the past and currently, only arround 3% of its original formation still remains. The forrest is composed mainly by the Araucaria angustifolia species, and is the south brazil native conifer forrest. The Araucaria angustifolia trees have a super interesting Biogeography history, the genus Araucaria has species in the south america South-cone and in Australia, New zealand and New Caledonia, it was a major genus exhisting during the gondwana supercontinent period. It was heavily explored for timber during the last two centuries. Araucárias have a distinct "mushroom cap" formation and produce seeds called pinhão. Pinhão is a very energy dense and nutritious seed and is known as a local delicacy, however, the potential for its seeds and plant is not fully explored. There are some araucária trees that can produce up to 200 Kg of pinhão seeds and many ways to use the products obtained from the Araucaria angustifolia trees are still to be explored.
I am looking for Ideas to increase the value of and make the Araucaria tree forrestation a very profitable activity. Discussing ideas like, subproducts from the seeds, liquors produced with tree parts, plant extracts, automation of seeds colection, machinery for seeds processing, marketing ideas, posible interest for exportation of products and subproducts, possible brands associated with Araucaria preservation, Tourism ideas, High-value products businesses ideas related to the araucaria trees and ways to kickstart those projects.
There is very hard to find english related articles about the araucária trees, I found this: Araucaria angustifolia and Wikipedia.
And those videos (in portuguese)



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Creative contributions

Putting down the numbers

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J. Nikola
J. Nikola Jun 08, 2022
As I understood, people are cutting it down since it gives great wood and not planting it since the benefits of having it, but not cutting it, are very low. If that is so, I think that the first thing that you need is to compare the benefits (earnings) of cutting a tree and using its other potentials that you mentioned (nuts, pharma, tourism, ...).
In other words, calculate the price of the wood (minus all the expenses) you could get from 100 10-year-old trees. Then calculate the earnings from the sold nuts, tourism or other usages of these 100 trees. As long as the balance is shifted towards the cutting of the trees (or there are no governmental efforts of supporting the growth, as Povilas S said), you won't make progress here.
I understand that what you want are solutions, but if the balance is actually shifted towards the sustainable usage of trees instead of deforestation, then all you need is good propaganda. It could be a shortcut. People love earning. You just need to show them the numbers.
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Povilas S
Povilas Sa month ago
In practice, of course, things would be different than in theory (calculated numbers), so the potential beneficiaries might be a bit hesitant to take the alternative way. Araucaria lumber business is well tested in practice, it is known to be profitable (I assume). The other ways of profiting from it (except pinhão harvesting) would have to be tested in practice and testing would take time. But numbers would be something to start with:)
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J. Nikola
J. Nikolaa month ago
Povilas S Well, if some people already do things like pinhão harvesting, plant extracts, tourism or similar, it could be used to predict the earnings with much higher precision. It could definitely help people to start the proposed Araucaria usages.
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Povilas S
Povilas Sa month ago
J. Nikola Pinhão harvesting yes, but plant extracts from Araucaria are not popular enough to have proper data about commercial profit, tourism also - perhaps not directly related to Araucarias.
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Medicinal properties

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Povilas S
Povilas S Jun 02, 2022
Wikipedia mentions that the plant is widely used in folk medicine. There might be some uses that would "sell" well for the general public. For example, its antiherpes activity.
One could perform ethnobotanical research in the local region collecting the data about medicinal (and other) uses of A. Angustifolia by the natives, then pick the most valuable ones and preferably do subsequent phytochemical research (like the one about the antiherpes activity I linked) confirming the effectiveness of those uses. You'd then have scientific data to support the reforestation initiative.
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Araucaria free climbing contests

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J. Nikola
J. Nikola Jun 09, 2022
Free climbing is also called rock climbing. However, it doesn't need to be exclusively done on the rocks. One of the best climbers in the world, Chris Sharma, climbed a giant redwood tree! Araucaria could become a new trend where experienced or amateur climbers could compete. All the earnings could go to the forest conservation fund.
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General comments

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Povilas S
Povilas Sa month ago
I understand the reasoning behind finding alternative commercial uses (instead of timber), but how would you prevent the trees from being exploited again for wood?
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mschiav3
mschiav3a month ago
Povilas S There is growing intent to do so (getting other uses other than timber and crude pinhão from araucarias). Actually Araucaria timber is very protected, cutting them down is consider a serious offense on Brazilian law. The timber was used during late european colonisation of Brazil (1800s through 1960s) and to implement and power railways. The problem is that Araucaria is so protected that farmers dont want to plant them, it is a tree that will start producing pinhão later on (arround 10 years after planting it) and they cannot cut it down, as they are protected by law, so they dont have the freedom to dedicate areas for that culture and changing later will be almost impossible, it is a one time choice, so it should be very profitable to encourage farmers to take that high risk. Associating cultures is another interesting idea, can we raise cattle on the ground, beneath the forrest, or plant other cultures underneath the forrest? What else can be done?
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Povilas S
Povilas Sa month ago
mschiav3 Sorry, I don't quite understand the situation. So the trees are protected, but no one plants them? If they are protected, there should be initiatives from the government's side to also replant the lost populations. Are you aiming at replanting the trees to recover the lost populations or to benefit the farmers?
Also, why the farmers are afraid they won't be able to cut the trees? I suppose you don't need to cut them to harvest the nuts? Or is the harvesting of nuts also prohibited? Or do the farmers also want to cut the trees later to use the timber?
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