Project January 14, 2022

Seeds of Life



The Cerrado forest in northern Brazil is the world's most diverse tropical savanna. But partly because the Amazon is so widely cherished, this matrix of grasslands, drought-tolerant trees, and lush gallery forests along rivers has not received much attention or protection. In recent decades, this has led to nearly half of it being cleared for large-scale farming and charcoal production.

Many Indigenous communities dot the Cerrado, including the Xavante, occupying the islands of remaining native forest. We propose a story about a group of Xavante people who are trying to help preserve the Cerrado's unusual plants, many of which are used in traditional medicine and cuisine. According to one estimate, the region has 4,400 species that don't grow anywhere else.

Daniel Grossman, a print journalist, and Dado Galdieri, a photojournalist, will report on a Xavante community that collects seeds for sale and donates to people who want to propagate Cerrado species. The Xavante's work has several goals, all benefiting and countering the ongoing destruction of native forest.