Across the world, people rely on medicinal plants for their primary health needs, and scientists agree that one in four modern medicines derives from rainforest plants. Yet forest destruction continues apace and species become extinct every year. Our goal is to promote the conservation of medicinal plants in Brazil's Atlantic Rainforest, rescuing, documenting, and sharing traditional knowledge about their uses by promoting a sustainable income-based relationship between community and forest.
The Atlantic Rainforest is one of the world's top biodiversity hotspots, severely affected by deforestation, unsustainable farming and climate change. As the forest disappears, so do its medicinal plants. People forget how to use them, and miss out on opportunities for creating plant-based products that give economic value to the forest. Biodiversity is lost, along with knowledge and the potential to improve the lives of forest people through creating sustainable income streams.
Our project of environmental education is targeted to rural women who are the traditional guardians of medicinal knowledge. We aim to rediscover the value of the forest and its medicinal plants, and our community workshops provide a space where women come together to share knowledge, acquire skills, and experiment with creating natural products. These gatherings serve to enhance their rural identity, raise their self-esteem, and encourage them to advocate for and protect both forest and plants.
In a patriarchal society, Brazilian rural women are frequently unaware of their true value, and unaccustomed to being proactive outside the house. By celebrating their knowledge, fostering a sense of community, reviving traditional uses of medicinal plants and developing new ways of using them, these women become forest champions. As they share their skills with their families, the ripple effects spread and are passed to the next generation, strengthening both forests and forest communities.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).