Brazil to Study Wildlife in Citrus Orchards

Josh McGillBrazil, Environment, Research

Embrapa and Fundecitrus, which are investigating carbon stocks in the Brazilian citrus belt, will also study how citrus production sites and farms can be habitats for wild fauna. Embrapa is the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation.

“Biodiversity is an indicator of environmental quality,” says Embrapa researcher José Roberto Miranda. He will coordinate the work to identify vertebrate animals, especially birds and mammals, which live on citrus farms.

Photo by Robert Kubíček on Unsplash

Footprints, nests, burrows, fur, feathers and feces will be the main fauna traces sought by the researchers. “Animals will be detected and identified, above all, through direct observation in field surveys,” Miranda says. “The use of binoculars helps to see details and allows identifying species from a distance.” Observations and traces will also guide the installation of cameras.

Birds are the most abundant terrestrial vertebrate group in the world and are expected to be the most numerous among the animals found in the study. Mammals, in turn, although rarer, give important indications about the diversity of the local fauna.

The presence of fauna brings benefits to citrus farms. Birds, for example, control the population of insects, which are disease vectors for orange trees.

The study should yield published recommendations for growers on how to create favorable environments for wildlife. One of the measures can be to guarantee, in conservation areas, species that are attractive to birds.

The research should run until June 2024. The data collected will be available on an online platform for public access and will be the subject of scientific journal articles. Data will be grouped by region and include maps.

The citrus belt of São Paulo and Triângulo/Southwest of Minas Gerais is the main orange-producing region for juice on the planet. The sector generates around $14 billion per year. It is responsible for 35% of the world’s orange production and 75% of the international fruit juice trade.

In the last 30 years, due to better efficiency in pest and disease control, cultural treatments and the use of technology and densification, the region’s average productivity has more than doubled. It went from 330 boxes per hectare in the 1988–1989 harvest to 830 boxes in the average of the last six harvests. The planted area, on the other hand, decreased by 40%.

Source: Fundecitrus

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