The Caatinga is a semi-arid scrub forest situated in the northeast of Brazil. It is extremely rich in natural resources but when compared to the rainforests there is little available information on its biodiversity.
The Caatinga is so altered that only a few ecologically important examples of natural habitat remain. The most amazing fact is the Caatinga is unique to Brazil yet only 1% of its habitats are protected.
The Caatinga occupies 11% of the Brazilian territory stretching across 300,000 square miles of the subequatorial zone.
Deserts Xeric Shrub
Animal life in the Caatinga has been adversely affected by hunting and human occupation. Many species have become extinct locally, while others, such as the three-banded armadillo, collared anteater, jaguar and robust tufted capuchin endure in reduced numbers.
Rudimentary agriculture and the intense use of natural resources have increased degradation of the land. The Conservancy is the only international conservation organization currently working in the Caatinga, benefiting the 15 million people who live there.
The Nature Conservancy is working with partners to guarantee large scale conservation in the region, using two main strategies.
The Conservancy invested in technical studies that equipped Brazil’s Ministry of Environment with key tools for creating the new 66,000-acre (26,715-hectare) São Francisco Natural Monument in the Caatinga. The new reserve safeguards parts of the São Francisco River and its canyons, which play a crucial role in maintaining the scarce water resources needed by communities who inhabit the harsh landscape.