Subchapter 8 – Estância Bandeirantes, Jacobina, Bahia

I first visited the exuberant Estância dos Bandeirantes in 2003. I was searching for the habitat of Orthophytum navioides when I heard of a property, not far from the center of town, which still harbored big portions of protected forests. Curious, I contacted the owner – Adroaldo Ribeiro Araújo, a fan of Rock Art – who promptly obliged to serve as guide for the next day visit. Since then, I revisited the area at least three more times through the years and always making plans of returning at the first opportunity! The good news is that I found a friend in Adroaldo and we had much fun together exploring the vastness of the Cerrado and Caatinga biomes of his property and the vicinity of Jacobina.

The Estância dos Bandeirantes is a tribute to the intrepid pioneers who in the 18th century discovered gold and other minerals around Jacobina. Adroaldo´s property – 1,500 hectares of mountains, canyons, a formidable biodiversity and more than 55 springs that form three rivers – has seen mining activity in the past, remains of which are now covered by the vegetation. The stories of this era are still recounted by the locals around a friendly camping fire or a cold beer.

Valleys strongly notched showing a relief wave ranging 530 – 1160 meters.

The extraordinary quantity of Bromeliaceae – thousands of Vriesea exaltata! – is beyond the imagination. By the way, according to Leonardo Versieux, Vriesea is “the largest genus of Bromeliaceae in Brazil, totaling 207 species of which 197 (ca. 95%) are endemic to this country (Forzza et al. 2012)”. But I also also shot other genus: Aechmea, Ananas, Bromelia, Dyckia, Cottendorfia, Tillandsia. And possibly a new species of Vriesea! Time will tell.

The photos you are about to see are a mere glimpse of the beauty and exuberance of the Estancia dos Bandeirantes. In recent times it has suffered with criminal fires and poaching – see photos of Coati in trap -, violations which are a plague throughout our history. Rarely punished, of course!

I thank Adroaldo and his wife for their usual kindness and support.

Enjoy the presentation, dear viewer!

Oscar – Rio, Dec. 2012