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38 akzente 4/15 tered villages traditionally use fire to clear land for grazing and to stimulate fresh vegetation. And thirdly, over time a ban on fires only leads to an accumulation of combustible materials, which simply fuel huge infernos when they catch fire. This can result in the destruction of many square kilometres of savannah in just a few hours. Even today we spot a column of smoke on the horizon rising three kilometres into the deep blue sky. ‘We also lay controlled fires to herd the cattle,’ says Sabino Francisco Tavares. The Top: ‘We have to protect and use nature at the same time,’ says Rejane Ferreira Nunes, responsible for the Jalapão conservation area. Here and elsewhere in the Cerrado, the fight against bushfires also involves satellite technology. Below: The beauty and diversity of the region will only be preserved if the new concept catches on. For local people this is a vital issue – they live off the Cerrado, either as farmers or by weaving baskets and ornaments from the ‘golden grass’. cowherd’s hut is beside a stream; everyday he drives his son 30 kilometres to school on his motorbike. Initial scepticism towards ‘gringos’ Tavares and his ‘neighbours’, other sailors lost in the Cerrado ocean, know everything about the different levels of vegetation in the re- gion: from the gallery forests along the rivers and the moist ‘veredas’ or drainage basins, to the open savannah, with fire-resistant trees such as the ‘witch’s broom’, and the shrub steppe where thorn bushes grow no more than a metre high. The Cerrado provides a living not only for livestock herders like Ta- vares. At the end of the rainy season, many local villagers also collect the ‘golden grass’, which they use to weave saleable goods such as baskets, boxes and ornaments. The project to control the region’s bush- fires brings together two spheres: the world of the settlers, with their wealth of experience;