Marcellus Caldas* - Kansas State University-Geography
The Atlantic Rainforest of South America (so-called Mata Atlântica) formerly covered large portions of southern Brazil and it extended for 3,500 km along the Brazilian coast. As such, it was one of the largest forested ecosystems in the New World. However, the Atlantic Rainforest is disappearing at an alarming rate, and is causing great attention among ecologists due to renowned endemism and diversity of its plants and animals that are not found elsewhere in the world. Although less well publicized than the deforestation of the Amazon, this problem is so severe that deforestation in the Atlantic Rainforest has transformed this ecosystem in a global biodiversity 'hotspot." One of these important "hotspot" is found in the southern part of Bahia State. However, since the decline of the cocoa economy, it has been argued that the solution to the region economic crises resides in the transformation of the agrarian system from large cocoa plantations, centered in wage labor, to familiar system based in land reform settlements, and small familiar agriculture. This paper will show how the decline n the cocoa economy contributed for land reform settlement formation in the region.