Notas sobre a ocupação humana da montanha no Distrito Federal


  • Nilo Bernardes


Distrito Federal;, Colonização;, Geografia Humana;, Geografia Agrícola;, Uso do Solo.


Distrito Federal presents in ali its extension strong physiographical and cultural contrasts. The two opposing landscape the lowlands and the mountain - reveal curious aspects what concerns the rural settlement and its antagonism to the urban expansion. Although the human occupation of the mountainous area does not present high densities, it is an important one.

            After this introduction, the author shows how the three massifs (Pedra Branca, Tijuca and Mendanha) which arise from the lowland characterize Distrito Federal as a mountainous littoral region; he speaks also of some isolated hills with inferior altitudes them the first ones.

            He calls the attention for the general direction (ENE-WSW) of the outcrops which is the same followed by the topographic evolution. As a consequence of that the relief features show steep slopes faced north and south; it characterizes not only the topography but also explain the land use.

            Relating these two factors the author shows that there is in the cultural landscape of the mountainous cultivated zones or Distrito Federal a certain uniformity given by the way the cultures appear on the slopes of the mountain, and also the vegetal coverture.

            Two aspects completely different present the opposing slopes of the same range. In the humidity is the reason of such differences although the role of the isolation is very important too.

            This difference is of great importance for the plowman and they distinguish two kinds of earth; those less humid and more hot, those humid and shadowy, cultivating the plants on account if its "habitat" necessities.

            But in the general landscape the author observes that the agrarian landscape shows variable aspects. So besides the banana and orange plantations the vegetables have an important place in the cultures which are very diversified.

            The products are sent to markets and open-air markets but several of them as beans and corn are used for subsistence, the last one destined for poultry:

            When the man owns the land he cultivates fruit trees and even coffee - trees around his house for its own consumption.

The fight against the erosion is not known of the plowmen. Although this is a common

fact in our agricultural the importance of the market of Rio de Janeiro should make possible

the introduction of technics to preserve the soil.

What concerns the conservation of soils the influence brought by Portuguese was very important. Altough their cultures do not constitute an agrarian landscape apart the influence of their technics can be felt on the Brazilian "colonos". But the system of properties do not let them be constant elements in this region.

            The roads built contributed largely to the rapid transformation this zone endured for they make possible to place the merchandises in the markets easily; so the culture of bananas was spread all over the humid slopes of the mountain being now one of the characteristics of this area; others products as "chuchu" grapes also cultivated for sale.

            When the orange phase came there was a juxtaposition of cultures and not a super imposition; for banana and orange need different types of soil.

            After this phase came the one of land speculation in the lowlands. As a result of it the population _in the mountain increased and the cultures were substituted for higher prices products. The influence of Portuguese in this phase can not be forgotten.

            Through all this evolution we can see that the region presents a landscape of little farms in which outstanding feature is the land use subordinate to physical conditions; the agriculture practices show that here the land occupation is an improved one and so are the houses "pau-a-pique" or of material, spared on account topographic circumstances. The confused net of ways found in the mountain and the difficulty of circulation make of the ass the principal element for transportation.

            An interesting aspect of the relations between the mountain and the lowlands is the articulation between the ass and the truck in order to place the product in the market: it is curious to observe the manner how the foot ways and the roads are articulated.

            This kind of transportation joint to the topographical conditions aid the comprehension of some contrasts the region presents.

            As consequence of the construction of roads in the lowlands, the agriculture of the valley move back in direction of the slopes of the mountain and become a more commercial one.

            The author concludes his paper saying that the mountain is now the refuge of the "sitiantes".The land occupation is much more dense on the abrupt slopes while the lowlands become improdutive. This is not observed in densely populated countries for the search for new lands is accomplished only after the lowlands are totally occupied. Of course presumes an agricultural based on rational conditions, a real agricultural conquest and not an ephemeral occupation of the region.