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Center for the Development and Education of Traditional Erva-mate Systems


The Center for the Development and Education of Traditional Erva-Mate Systems – CEDErva – is a collaborative network of people who have an interest in the production and development of traditional erva-mate cultivation. Our network is made up of small-scale rural producers from Paraná and Santa Catarina, family farming unions, municipal, state and federal institutions, as well as researchers from different disciplines, from the natural sciences to the humanities, representatives from universities and other scientific institutions.

erva mate fruto verde cacador novembro 2
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Traditional erva-mate systems

Traditional erva-mate production systems occur in the Araucaria Forests in Southern Paraná and Northern Santa Catarina States and are based on the traditional knowledge of family farmers and Traditional and Indigenous communities. Over time, different production systems have been developed, such as Faxinais in Paraná and Caívas in Santa Catarina. Today, several systems of erva-mate production are found in family farming properties, as we can see in the image below:

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Profile of the forest with erva-mate and the different ways of incorporating erva-mate in agricultural production. Source: Cunha (2014)

Shade-grown erva-mate

Developed within the Araucaria Forest biome, shade-grown erva-mate has a unique and smooth flavor. As a system that relies on the forest environment for ideal production conditions, it helps to conserve and protect the last remaining forests in the region. As such, the consumption of traditional shade-grown erva-mate promotes the protection of innumerable species of plants and animals.

Aquifoliaceae Ilex paraguariensis arv en

Facts and Images

On this page you will find details, facts, and other information about the erva-mate tree, with photographs that illustrate various stages of the plant's development, as well as its seed dispersers and pollinators.

sistema tradicional erva-mate sombreada
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Get access to academic research, articles and publications that discuss agroforestry erva-mate systems, as well as books on the history of erva-mate and its ecology.

In the CEDErva digital library, you can access links to download various texts.


The History of Erva-mate

The consumption of the leaves of this tree originates from the practices of the Guarani indigenous people, who used erva-mate in healing or religious rituals. After contact with Spanish colonizers beginning in 1537, the consumption and production of erva-mate became a crucial factor in the development of the history of colonial Paraguay, Argentina, and later Brazil. In the "History" section, you will find information on relevant historical data related to erva-mate.

Photograph of an erva-mate tree taken in 1897 by Carlos Gallardo.


This re-launched video was made available and digitized through the partnership between CEDErva and IDR-PR and shows the experiences of 15 farmers using traditional and agroecological erva-mate systems in the municipalities of São Mateus do Sul and Bituruna, in the Center-South region of Paraná, between 1995 and 2002.  The video highlights discussions about plant succession within the forest, in addition to considering possibilities for sustainable management of the rich biodiversity of the Araucaria Forest, where erva-mate occurs and is an important source of family income. The video shows efforts to recognize ecological practices maintained by farmers who cultivate these systems through traditional knowledge and everyday experimentation. 

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