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Trip Planner South America  /  Brazil  /  State of Para  /  Belterra

Belterra

3.9
Belterra is a municipal seat and rubber plantation site some 40km south of the city of Santarém, Brazil (in the federal state of Pará) at the edge of the Planalto at 165m above sea level.LocationAmongst soil scientists, Belterra is famous for the underlying fertile, anthropogenic soil of 'Terra preta', which might have been amongst the criteria for the selection of this site for the plantation. While Terra Preta soil patterns occur all over the Brazilian lowland, this site is extremely well developed and also scientifically surveyed and documentedThe tertiary highland is composed of some 40- clay layers (Belterra clay) of kaolinitic sediments of a Pliocene lake, with a distinct escarpment to the North and West of the plain, which leads down to the Várzea forest lowland at the river bank of the Tapajos river.The municipality holds part of the Tapajós National Forest, a sustainable use conservation unit created in 1974.History14C analyses based on Terra Preta ceramic artefacts found in Belterra showed, that this area was populated and cultivated by the indigenous population in an intensive way at least since 500 B.C.Belterra was founded as a rubber plantation, after the economic failure of Fordlândia, which had been founded in 1934 by Henry Ford. The intention of the US-Department of Commerce in the 1920s was to produce rubber in Brazil and to import it to USA. The advantage of the Belterra plantation over the plantation of Fordlândia 100km to the south is the flat topography, which enables the use of machinery. In its peak time in the late 1930s some 50km2 were cultivated with Hevea Brasiliensis (rubber tree).
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