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Other species may be included where there is relevant information at a later stage. Bocconea Biodiversity and Conservation 15 5 : This post is also available in: Portuguese Portugal. In Portugal. Latest posts. Invasive Plants Many ecosystems in Portugal are deeply affected by invasive species, either animal or plants. This means considerable economical losses, huge impacts on biodiversity, changes in the ecosystems services and even public health issues. Specifically, he was responsible for the courses of chemistry and natural history.

Blending scientific skill and political leadership, he earned the admiration of governmental officials. His contributions far surpassed the original goals of his trip, as Munteal Filho explains :. Vandelli devoted himself to the study of flora and fauna from Brazil and Portugal, introduced the Portuguese to new trades like that of illustrator and gardener, coordinated a number of the so-called philosophical voyages to the natural world of the colonies, and persuaded the Portuguese government to make botanical gardens scientific establishments.

He eventually sculpted a vision of the world wherein the way to revive the Kingdom and remove Portugal from its cultural isolation was centered in the realm of Nature. In a memoir on the utility of botanical gardens, Vandelli stressed the importance of creating these green spaces and concluded that the study of botany was vital to agriculture and to the exploration of natural resources. His publication prompted government authorities to assign the Ajuda garden, headed by Vandelli himself, as the main destination for plants from all over the Portuguese Empire, particularly species boasting economic potential.

At the close of the eighteenth century, still during the Enlightenment, Portugal began sponsoring "philosophical voyages" to acquire knowledge of the colonies' biodiversity and gather samples to send back to the metropolis. The Ajuda garden acquired valuable collections thanks to these voyages, especially one into the Amazon region taken between and under the leadership of Alexandre Rodrigues Ferreira. We can gather a notion of its importance from the order handed down by General Junot when the French invaded Portugal in the entire collection of the Ajuda garden should be sent to the Jardin des Plantes in Paris Castel-Branco, This fact also shows that France's interest was not merely territorial but also to gain control of any 'riches' from the Portuguese Empire.

Another influential figure in the Portuguese court was Rodrigo de Sousa Coutinho. Minister of the Navy and Overseas Dominions and representative of the so-called English party, he was one of the members of the Portuguese political intellectuality who "foresaw the possibility of reviving the Kingdom by relying on the physical nature of the overseas dominions" Munteal Filho, After removal from his post as minister in , Sousa Coutinho maintained his prestige and still wielded influence as inspector general of the Royal Botanical Gardens and Museums, a post created especially for him Sanjad, Nov.

He later played a key role in transferring the court to Brazil and once again was named minister, this time of War and Foreign Affairs. The far-sighted Sousa Coutinho promoted knowledge of nature in the colonies: "Based on the unity of the Portuguese world and ensuing implications and advantages in the economic sphere, Dom Rodrigo took the idea of exchanging plants from the different territories and, especially, the project for acclimatizing Eastern spices in Brazil and made them an integral part of his policy to foster overseas trade" Almeida, , p.

Domenico Vandelli and Rodrigo de Sousa Coutinho illustrate how Portuguese intellectuality and political power worked hand in hand to guarantee the economy of the Portuguese Empire by promoting a utilitarian scientific culture that sought to learn about natural assets and profit from them.

In Brazil, these changes actually made their repercussions felt starting in , when the first botanical garden was created at the order of the metropolis and under Portuguese administration. Featuring plants from a number of French colonies, this arboretum sparked envy and was the target of Portuguese 'piracy'. Second was the city's location at the entrance to the Amazon, a region that had been attracting explorers since Alexandre Rodrigues Ferreira's voyage.

The Portuguese minister may have argued his case about the economic role of botanical gardens and advised his brother about the growing importance of these institutions within Portuguese policy, in addition to helping him actually set up the garden. It appears that in the eyes of the metropolis, the Belem botanical garden was so successful that subsequent initiatives bore great similarity. Not long after creation of this garden, the so-called Luso-Brazilian network of botanical gardens inaugurated its activities Sanjad, Nov.

All indications are that the Olinda garden served primarily as a warehouse for the acclimatization of species from other provinces. The network also disseminated information on how to acclimatize and improve species and, above all, how to encourage farmers and provide them with scientific literature or distribute free seeds and seedlings for new or improved crops.

In a pioneer study on the first botanical gardens in Portugal and Brazil, Jobim argues that these institutions were created in response to the "adoption of a systematic policy that valued agriculture through science and thus galvanized the colonial economy via diversification of agricultural products" p. Prior to the early nineteenth century, Portugal's economic policies did not stimulate the production of spices, perhaps because the Empire was leery of competition from the Eastern colonies. The establishment of botanical gardens indicates a shift in direction and a search for new crop alternatives.

The Acclimatization Garden. Notwithstanding the import of the JBRJ to the history of the sciences and the cultural history of Rio de Janeiro, research into its trajectory has only just begun and not much is to be found in present historiography. Nor have there been enough critical studies of these sources, upon which reconstruction of the garden's history has been based. In his master's thesis, Sanjad , p. The scant number of studies on these gardens does not puzzle us as much as what we have observed in the case of the Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden, especially given that for decades this institution carried the epithets 'Royal' and 'Imperial'.

The paucity of research on the JBRJ is owed in part to the possible loss of its pre archives not located at present and likewise to the lack of research tools with which to explore the other arquival documents still in the hands of the institution. Some more devoted staff members stored away botanist records on the plants introduced into the arboretum, particularly in the twentieth century. Indications are that all efforts to preserve the institutional memory were concentrated on the Herbarium, one of Brazil's most important; with some , well-preserved dried specimens and documents dating from the eighteenth century, this source has not yet been explored by historians, despite its undeniable value.

According to the author, the institution was set up in in the area of the Gunpowder Plant, as an "Acclimatization Garden meant to introduce the growing of East Indies spices to Brazil" p. In laudatory tones, the text goes on to recount the genesis of the institution and to make trenchant criticisms of the administrations before and after Frei Leandro do Sacramento This version of the history of the JBRJ is consonant with the period in which it was written and with the interest in exalting the person of Barbosa Rodrigues, one of whose achievements was writing the first version of an institutional history.

Yet the mere reproduction of his statements is questionable if we fail to take into account more recent historical interpretations of the context or to explore for new analyses. If we are to understand the context in which the JBRJ was created, we must bear in mind the strategic role played by botanical gardens in Portugal and around the world starting in the latter half of the eighteenth century, as mentioned earlier. It was also endeavoring to guarantee the permanence of the court and the Portuguese administrative machine that had disembarked in Brazil along with the royal family.

Furthermore, the wane of gold mining in Minas Gerais as of left fertile ground for enforcing the ideas espoused by those economic interests that defended agriculture as the road to development and the true wealth of Brazil. With Napoleon's troops invading Portugal and the royal family and part of the Portuguese court fleeing to Brazil, it was a time of conflict.

Since the colonial territory would have to be defended against a possible attack by the French Empire, orders were handed down to immediately build a Gunpowder Plant and Artillery Foundry Decree, May 13, Likewise in Oct. The Administrator was also charged with ensuring that area residents neither rerouted the waterways essential to the manufacture of gunpowder nor destroyed forests. Today it is difficult to ascertain the precise boundaries of the Fazenda da Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. Another consideration was ease of defense in case of an attack or attempts to enter the court clandestinely.

Moreover, why place it on the grounds of a gunpowder factory and under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and War? As the Gunpowder Plant was under his jurisdiction, he may have ordered experiments to be conducted on exotic plants from the botanical gardens of Belem and Cayenne, according to all indications.

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As a result, something quite singular and perhaps unique in the world occurred in Brazil: at the same time and in the same place where a gunpowder plant was built, a botanical garden came to life under the command of no less than the Minister of Foreign Affairs and War. Remember that in January , months after the royal family had fled to Rio de Janeiro, French Guiana was invaded by Luso-Brazilian troops in retaliation for the French invasion of Portugal. The occupation of the French territory played an important role in the creation of a network of gardens, states Jobim , because it permitted the exchange of plants between Cayenne, Belem, Olinda, and Rio de Janeiro.

Laws dating from that time 8 leave no doubt about how the government encouraged the cultivation of exotic spice crops, promising prizes and customs exemptions for anyone who raised them. In the periodical O Patriota 9 , published in , division chief Luiz d'Abreu wrote an article that illustrates the enthusiasm aroused by these plants back then. Adding a few dashes of heroism, Luiz d'Abreu tells how he had been a prisoner of war on the Isle of France in , where the Pamplemousse botanical garden was located; after negotiating his release together with another comrades-in-arms, he planned "at the same time to rob the colony, in order to bring wealth to this state, of part of the riches with which Mrs.

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In this context, the JBRJ may have begun its activities in a secretive fashion as a strategy for not revealing its goals. In one of the first treatises on agriculture in Brazil, written in , Taunay offered a favorable analysis of tea growing. He argued that the product was among those with greatest economic potential for the country, given its success among 'civilized' people; he also underscored the fact that China had long been the zealous holder of age-old knowledge on how to grow and process tea.

He encouraged anyone interested in growing tea and stressed how easy it is to plant and to obtain seedlings and seeds, which the JBRJ would provide free to those who requested them. Originally from China, tea Camellia sinensis , or Tea viridis , as it was called earlier was also grown in Japan and India. There too crops went to supply the European market, especially England.

Many problems ensued, since the Chinese who came were not farmers and, further, because the language barrier was construed as a trick that the immigrants used to conceal the secrets of tea production Sacramento, As soon as the plantation began producing, seeds were distributed throughout Brazil.


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According to ministerial reports, the results were satisfactory: in , the equivalent of 23 arrobas were harvested about kilograms. During his term as director of the institution, he applied himself to the acclimatization and planting of seedlings and devoted himself to the crop. For decades, the garden distributed free seeds and also offered free advice to farmers in the form of manuals and practical demonstrations on everything from propagation of seeds in hotbeds to harvesting and drying them for consumption.

Following the s, the institution slowly abandoned tea, mostly because funds were not sufficient to increase the number of slaves as well as planted area and thus boost production. I am focusing on the large-scale production and preparation of tea at the JBRJ not to construct a history of the crop but in order to understand the concept of scientific research as embraced by this institution in the first half of the nineteenth century.

Traditionally concerned with identifying, describing, and classifying plant species, during this period botanical research was restricted to the identification of plants that might prove useful from a commercial angle. So the art of cultivation, that is, agriculture, consisted in part of applying botanical classifications.

The author adds that prior to , it was believed that land in Brazil was "abundant and fertile and presented no obstacle to cultivation" p. The scientific debate centered on the identification of exotic or native species promising worthwhile economic return. So botanical research was highly useful to agronomy, as growing new crops entailed identifying species and studying varieties that would best adapt to the region's climate and soil, while agronomy helped botany through experiments with its 'art'.

Although botanical and agronomic activities were distinct, they were at times complementary. In terms of tea growing, for example, research maintained a constant dialog between the two disciplines and the results enhanced knowledge in both fields. When the formal teaching of botany and agriculture was instituted, the two courses were linked.

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When the acclimatization of exotic plants was no longer the government's main investment, scholars in the fields of botany and of botany applied to agriculture also began to look for ways to identify and improve upon the potential riches of Brazil's plants in an effort to uncover new proposals for economic growth. Evidence of this is found in an ministerial report, justifying the need to create a School of Agriculture at the JBRJ:.

Once complemented by the practical School of Agriculture, the Botanical Garden will be of enhanced usefulness, as it will not only distribute exotic plants but also work to improve indigenous ones. If the grape, the pear, the apple, and other fruits quite tasteless in their primitive state are now the delicacies of Europe, how much might we not expect from the many species and varieties that grow spontaneously in our woods and fields, and that even in their wild state compete with those?

It was starting in the latter half of the nineteenth century, according to Domingues , that rural landowners first struggled with the consequences of exhausted soil and the evident need to fertilize their lands and control crop pests. Scholars of agronomy began a more energetic exchange of information with other sciences, like chemistry, plant physiology, and entomology, while botanists continued their research in the area of plant systematics, though turning their attention more and more to native plants.

Frei Leandro do Sacramento.

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This annexation evidently did not achieve the desired results and in was reversed. Still, it may be that for the first time in the RJBG's sixteen years, a botanist was appointed head thanks to the influence of the Museu Nacional. Holding a degree in philosophy from the Universidade de Coimbra, Frei Leandro do Sacramento became one of Brazil's most eminent scientists; he enjoyed prestige abroad and was cited by countless naturalists with whom he maintained active correspondence. He was a member of a number of academies of science in Europe, such as Munich's where he published his works on systematics , St.

Petersburg's, and others. Under Frei Leandro, the JBRJ became a reference point for foreign naturalists and for European institutions, which requested plants both for identification purposes and to grow. In the month of March in the year of , in which I took charge of the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas Botanical Garden, said Garden held a considerable plantation of tea, across three plots of quite unequal size. My first measure was to save the plantation.

I could not write about an object that had until then been kept a secret. For which [His Imperial Highness] Orders me to prepare collections of seeds of tea, cloves, etc. From that instant forth, what had been dedication within me was transformed into a sacred obligation, which I have endeavored to fulfill without delay, having organized the present memoir with the ideas that I was able to come by Sacramento, , p.

Frei Leandro do Sacramento's herborizations bear witness to his forays into the forests of Rio de Janeiro state. He may have been the first to introduce native plants to the JBRJ. Yet the fate of most of Frei Leandro's herborized plants is unknown; only a small number of duplicates are on deposit at the herbaria of the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris and at Munich's Museum Mensch und Natur Lima, Kurtz, Marques, Although Frei Leandro's contributions to the field of botany were of undeniable value, his main biographers have little to say about the period during which he was head of the JBRJ.

Roquette-Pinto stated that Frei Leandro "received an amusement park [and] left a scientific garden" p. The likely exaggeration of this comment notwithstanding, Frei Leandro's term as director seems to have been a milestone in the history of the institution. In his book Rodrigues, , Barbosa Rodrigues writes that when the botanist stepped in as director, the JBRJ was in a state of "appalling abandon," a situation that was corrected thanks to many reforms.

Barbosa Rodrigues sought to pay tribute to the Frei in different ways, including a monument located on a hillock alongside the lake named in his honor. Little is known about his administration, nor is much known about his biographical data Domingues, He was from the state of Pernambuco, like his predecessor, and had received his degree at Coimbra.

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Although he was considered a disciple of Frei Leandro Domingues, , p. We only know he was an active member of the ephemeral Sociedade Vellosiana and took part in the Botanical Commission, which was created to compile an inventory of plants introduced to Brazil after its discovery Lopes, , p. These pleas fell on deaf government ears. Other proposals: the introduction of horses and wool-producing animals at the JBRJ and the planting of artificial fields where they could feed; improvements to fruit-bearing trees, medicinal plants, and food plants; silkworm and bee raising; upgrading of charcoal kilns; potash production; and experimentation with compost heaps.

To make these projects possible, the Commission recommended the annexation of national forests and lands near the JBRJ. The government rejected the proposals, alleging a lack of funds for the suggested projects. Still, the government's constant demands that the JBRJ try to place less of a burden on the national treasury were no longer brought up in subsequent years. The institution seems to have limited itself to preserving the arboretum's collections. This suggests there were substantial differences between the government's expectations regarding the JBRJ, the feasibility of developing projects, and the institutional reality described by its directors for decades.

Its articles reveal a preoccupation with defining rules appropriate to a kind of leisure different from that engaged in at public parks; another concern was taking into account the institution's two branches of activity, so that scientific initiatives would coexist easily alongside recreation.

The decree couched it in these terms:. Since the late eighteenth century, this park had been one of the few public areas in the city center where people could enjoy leisure activities and contact with nature; it was transformed into a place of botanical research as well, with Police Regulations identical to those pertaining to the JBRJ Brazil, Jan.

The government still harbored hopes that the JBRJ would research, raise, and improve the cultivation of native plants. After botanists had managed the institution for nearly three decades, with unsatisfactory results, an individual with broad knowledge of public administration and experience in the legislature was appointed its director.

Oliveira, who held a mathematics degree from the Universidade de Coimbra, served in the Empire's most noteworthy public posts: he was a senator in two legislatures, representative, diplomat, and minister both of the Treasury and Foreign Affairs and of the Navy, in addition to performing other important duties within the public administration.

In the field of science, he earned famed as a scholar and proponent of the metric system, later adopted in Brazil. He failed to receive the coveted increase in funding, nor did he manage to push through creation of the long-postponed Normal School. He tried to introduce live animals quadrupeds and birds , which, according to his account, was a way of expanding the RJBG's activities to encompass the study of zoology and also of providing visitors with further entertainment, but neither did this project get off the ground.

Likewise in an effort to produce profitable merchandise, Oliveira invested in making so-called Panama hats. Then in fashion, these hats were made from the straw of a plant known commonly as jipijapa Carludovica palmata , from the family Cyclantaceae , a plant native to other regions of South America that had adapted successfully to the Amazon. A facility was set up on the grounds of the JBRJ in , and a Peruvian specialist in raising, drying, weaving the straw, and in making hats was hired.

The initiative seems to have met with a certain success in the beginning, but three years later trouble arose. The problems were blamed on the Peruvian expert, who, according to the director, did not know how to prepare the straw. Although this employee was replaced, further efforts to produce these hats also failed and the crop was abandoned. All indications are that there was a near consensus in governmental spheres that the JBRJ was being poorly managed and that the institution could practically achieve economic self-sufficiency if the right projects were undertaken.

In the second place, we must ask why the government decided to appoint someone whose background had so little to do with the RJBG's projects and activities. This suggests that the Empire wanted to appoint a representative of its strategic policy, someone who would be able to put the Garden on the same footing with its counterparts in Europe, serving as a showcase for both tropical nature and the progress of Brazil. When he stepped into the job, he indicated that he intended to show that nature was in and of itself an attraction, although it was also necessary to demonstrate the country's progress through government intervention.

From his report forwarded to the minister of the Empire in Given that this [botanical garden] ranks among the most unusual features found in this capital, to be viewed by both Brazilians and foreigners, it calls for the construction of appropriate buildings and their administration, for what currently stands here in this regard is nothing more than the remains of crowded, defective, poorly placed structures left from the earlier establishment of the Gunpowder Plant, whose mediocrity stands in sharp contrast with the brilliant image of its magnificent arboretum, and with the beauty of the locale Brazil, , Attachment, p.