Geography

Forest of Cocais


It is located between the Amazon and the Caatinga, in the states of Maranhão, Piauí and northern Tocantins. The typical vegetation of the Mata dos Cocais are babassu (in greater quantity), carnauba, oiticica and buriti.

Babassu, which dominates the environment, is being destroyed at an intense pace by pastures, but can survive by the speed with which it reproduces and the products that are extracted from it (wax, oil, fibers, etc.), which are of high value for survival. of the local population.

Extractivism is the main economic activity in the Mata dos Cocais. Thousands of people live off the babassu coconut extractivism. The seed of this coconut is used as a raw material by the cosmetics, medicine and food industries.

On the drier eastern side of the forest, carnauba predominates, which can reach up to 20m in height, whose leaves are removed from the wax used as a lubricant in the electronics, perfumery and plastics and adhesives manufacturing.

Although exploited in an orderly manner by several extractive communities that carry out their activities without harming this plant formation, the Mata de Cocais is also seriously threatened by the expansion of pasture areas for livestock, mainly in Maranhão and northern Tocantins. This area occupies less than 3% of the total area of ​​Brazil.