Many agree that chocolate is good for one’s health, but can chocolate help curb global warming? A small experiment in Eastern Brazil sows the seeds of a big reward perhaps helping to preserve the rainforest canopy. It is called Cabruca farming.
Cabruca farming takes virgin rainforest and thins a few trees from the canopy leaving holes and letting in dappled sunlight. After thinning the understory is planted with cacao trees — the source of chocolate. The pods contain the magical beans that Aztecs counted like gold. The cultivated cacao trees grow just a bit higher than a man can reach, and rainforest trees tower over them like something out of a Roald Dahl book—some round like lollipops, some flat like a plate.
And here’s the climate connection. Rainforest trees and plants store massive amounts of carbon — keeping it from getting into the air as carbon dioxide. There’s a lot less rainforest than there once was. There used to be 330 million acres of rainforest in eastern Brazil, called the Mata Atlantica. Settlers arrived hundreds of years ago and began destroying the forest for the wood, and to create fields for pasture and crops. Only 7 percent of the Mata Atlantica remains, and destruction is still going on. Every time a tree is burned, its stored carbon is released. As more carbon is released into the air, the planet gets warmer.
So if you don’t believe that chocolate may good for you, consider Cabruca farming and its potential to curb global warming. The very least we will have more chocolate!