August 17, 2012

Rainforest Crunch: Origins of the Brazil nut in ancient Amazonia (Bertholletia excelsa)

If you still miss "Rainforest Crunch" ice cream, you can finally rest assured that Amazonian Indians really were behind all those Brazil nuts in the recipe, only not in quite the way that Ben & Jerry's had advertised.
The stately Brazil nut tree appears to have been managed
and perhaps cultivated by ancient Amazonian peoples.

Recent scientific studies show that Brazil nut groves have been managed, facilitated and probably spread throughout the Amazon by indigenous peoples since before European conquest. As highlighted in this month's issue of the Brazilian science news magazine, Revista FAPESP, "the human factor" has played an important role in shaping this emblematic rainforest landscape.