Along with its restoration activities, the Restaura Cerrado network is also engaged in public education on the vital importance of the savanna. Image by ICMBio / Fernando Tatagiba When landscape architect Mariana Siqueira moved from Rio to Brasília, Brazil’s capital, six years ago, she was surprised to learn she was now living in the middle of the Cerrado — the world’s biggest savanna. “In Brazil, when we think of savanna, we think of Africa,” she says. “We think of wide open plains and giraffes and other charismatic animals.” A short time later, Siqueira became aware that the Brazilian Cerrado is the most biodiverse savanna on Earth, but that its vast array of plants and animals is fast vanishing. When a new client asked her to design a “Cerrado garden” using native plants, she was shocked to learn that not a single nursery stocked the native Cerrado grasses and shrubs that dominate the biome’s ecosystems. Ironically, in the midst of so much biodiversity, the nurseries focused instead almost exclusively on exotic plants. That’s not just a problem for landscape architects, but also for environmentalists trying to restore Brazil’s second largest biome. The Cerrado covers around two million square kilometers (772,204 square miles), more than 20% of the nation’s territory. Today, it still harbors about a third of the country’s biodiversity, even after losing a staggering 50% of its native vegetation area to rapidly expanding agribusiness. Worse news: because the world, and even some ecologists, have been slow to recognize the value…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer