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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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the sertanejos than the civilized inhabitants of Sao Joao d'El-Rei, Vila Rica and Tejuco. For teaching, there is a Latin school, with a regional teacher of this subject in Fanado, and nine private schools. The healing of souls is under the responsibility of five priests, in addition to eighteen chapels. Two of those ecclesiastics are likewise priests. There are eight brotherhoods in the termo, and oddly enough, they were constituted as ordinances and militias by color, so whites belong to four of these religious associations, mulattoes to one, and blacks to three. There are also numerous followers of Sebastianism here. (Note. II).

Vila do Fanado

As the outskirts of Vila do Fanado, at the present time of the year, when the trees lose much of the flowers and foliage,

Etching 10 near Fanado

did not arouse our interest, offering little investigation, we decided to go to Alto dos Bois, a military post against Botocudos which is ten leagues south-east of the village. After we had made our troops' dispositions for rest and refreshment, we set out, hoping to find more of those Indians there than we have seen so far. After climbing the hill, on whose slope is Vila do Fanado, we found ourselves on a very large plateau, covered with uniform bushes, especially of the genus Acacias, Mimosas, Lauraceas, Ocnas, Malpiguias and Banisterias,

Acacia fasciculata

Mimosa gracilis

Laurus cinnamonum

Ochna

Malpiguia aquifolia

Banisteria pruinosa

or with low crooked-branched trees, especially of the species Kielmeyera,

Keilmeyera coriacea

Qualea and Spixia, from which hang parasites, Agaricos and Loranteas - on the

Qualea grandiflors

Loranthus flowers

stoned plateau extending almost horizontally by some leagues. The reddish soil, full of quartz debris, is so smooth that we thought we rode not on an ordinary road but on a sidewalk. The lack of nourishing material in this field is also the reason why there was no trace of farming. Bemposta, a priest's farm, was our night’s lodging. The worthy owner, an early member of the Jesuit College, recalled with joy the Jesuit College in Bahia, at the time of Pope Clement XIV, which then had about 100 members of the company and 70 students, including him. He complained about the poverty of the land and assured us that he planted only for three consecutive years, leaving the land abandoned for twelve years,

Deforestation for farmland

until it produced capoeira, the new growth forest, and that, for this reason, each farm, after one year of cultivation, was delivered back to the bush, to produce a crop there after twelve years. On an eight square league farm, such a farming system is possible. The planting consists of tobacco, beans, cassava and corn.

Bean farm, Monte Cristo

The next day, we still rode some leagues on the plateau, which gradually rises and, finally, is limited to the southeast by three spines, formed by a part of the Emerald Mountain.

Emerald mountain area today

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