Virtual Library Collected Information on Brazil Nuts since the 19th Century

OCA initiative includes over 1,200 items in a variety of formats

May, 2022 - Are you looking for a recipe that includes Brazil nuts? Are you interested in best practices adopted in the Brazil nut production chain? Do you have any doubts about the impact of Brazil nuts on the local economy and biodiversity conservation? This information can be found in one place: the OCA Virtual Library — the largest repository of information on the subject. OCA is the Portuguese acronym for Brazil Nut Observatory.

The library launched in May, and currently includes 1,245 items in a variety of formats, including material in nine languages, with dates ranging from 1808 to present day. It was designed to become a reference for research, consultation, and information about Brazil nuts.

For Raquel Rodrigues dos Santos, the researcher responsible for collecting materials and organizing the library, the platform is innovative because it coalesces in one site the vast knowledge of Brazil nut production.

"Until now, those who work with Brazil nuts, including extractive workers, researchers, and consumers, did not have a public and open space where to find this diversity of materials in an easily targeted way," she says.

Maria Luíza Camargo helped Raquel systematize the material. The platform system was developed by Terra Krya. OCA researchers and partner institutions helped to select and share the material.

OCA is a network of organizations that works to develop the Brazil nut chain. They produce knowledge and mobilize actors to a fair market aimed at valuing the people and communities involved while conserving the forest. 

Two PCAB implementing partners, the Brazilian Education Institute (IEB) and the Ecological Research Institute (IPÊ), are part of the network. Other members include the United States Forest Service (USFS), Imaflora, the Water Pact, the Native Amazon Operation (OPAN), the Vitória Amazônica Foundation (FVA), WWF-Brazil, Conexsus, the Socio-Environmental Institute (ISA), the Protected Forest Association (AFP), Embrapa, the National Council of Extractive Populations (CNS), and the Chico Mendes Memorial (MCM). OCA is funded by  USAID/Brazil, by the Climate and Land Use Alliance (CLUA) and by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

What’s available? — About half of all the material available are scientific papers, obtained directly from OCA’s partner institutions and researchers, or identified through a study that involved over 30 databanks and repositories. 

The library has unconventional and noncommercial publications, and traditionally difficult to find texts. The search engine accepts keywords in English and Spanish to cater to foreign audiences.

Some of the materials are  unique, such as videos in Russian and Korean, drawings and manuscripts from the 18th and 19th centuries, and productions in the WaiWai language.

"For those of us who helped organize the library, it was a very rewarding process, full of interesting discoveries, precisely because of this wealth of cultural manifestations. We believe that this compilation, in addition to helping people who need access to this unique knowledge, will help to disclose the value of Brazil nuts to the whole world," adds Raquel.

Access the OCA Virtual Library here.