Rubber tapping is the process of collecting the rubber sap (latex) from a rubber tree. It’s an environmentally friendly activity, the trees begin to produce more latex after the harvest and obviously are not harmed. The bark of the tree is ‘cut’ (superficial incision) diagonally, in order to cut the latex vessels and make the milky white fluid drip into a bucket. The rubber tapper crosses the forest in the morning to ‘cut’ and set the buckets, in the end of the day he does the same route to collect the latex.
Hevea brasiliensis or rubber tree are native and exclusive from the Amazon Rainforest. The natives called these trees 'caucho'– meaning 'crying tree', they used the rubber to make their clothes impermeable, make rubber balls for a game or to make shoes.
The Brazilian rubber has high competition in the other side of the planet, where Asian rubber trees plantations are easier to harvest (the trees are planted in lines, the rubber trees in Amazon grow wildly), making them cheaper.
Rubber extraction gives economical value to the trees alive, the communities inside the forest benefit directly from them making them protectors of the land preventing deforestation.
The Amazonian shoes are made of 100% natural rubber, extracted from wild rubber trees in the Amazon rainforest. The shoes production process is quite innovative, due to the technical development achieved by Tecbor process developed by the chemistry laboratory Lateq of University of Brasília. The Tecbor technology was developed as an alternative to improve in many ways the rubber processing conditions, by using simple techniques and materials, everything free of harsh chemicals.
With this technology the rubber tappers produce a low cost and higher quality processed rubber, eliminating the use of electricity and reducing the excessive consumption of water. The result are the FDL ‘Folha de Defumação Líquida’ (liquid smoked sheet) a high quality and great resistance product intended for industries - and the FSA - ‘Folha Semi Artefacto’ (semi artefact sheet) used in the creation of decorative and functional goods, like the Amazonian Shoes. These 2 types of rubber are high quality Amazonian products with a selling price that can be seven times higher than the ones made with the former way of processing latex.
The increase of income provides better conditions for the rubber tapper communities to remain in the forest, who otherwise would have to migrate to the periphery of cities in search of better living conditions. One of the beneficial consequences of this human settlement is the preservation of the forest, the local resources and the culture. The families, especially the women, are integrated in the latex processing, allowing the rubber tapper to have time for other extractive activities, yielding more value to the family.