Worldwatch Paper #168: Venture Capitalism for a Tropical Forest: Cocoa in the Mata Atlantica

Authors: Chris Bright and Radhika Sarin

ISBN: 1-878071-72-6
Publication Date: Dec. 2003
69 pages


The Brazilian Atlantic Forest is one of the world's biological "hotspots," a region of extraordinary, and threatened, biodiversity. Saving the Atlantic Forest will require a variety of strategies. An approach described in this paper hinges on one of the world's favorite foods: cocoa. Cocoa is a major crop in Brazil, especially in the northeastern state of Bahia, where most cocoa is grown in a longstanding agroforestry system called cabruca. Because cocoa trees tolerate shade, cabruca permits preservation of much natural forest. But the cabruca system itself is now in decline. A revived and modernized form of cabruca would promote the ecological goal of forest restoration, the social goal of creating a strong and green rural economy, and the political goal of building an international consumer constituency for the endangered forest.