Doing It Right

Doing It Right

Doing it right

Supporting documents

I. The DURAMAZ system components

Figure S1: the DURAMAZ indicator system structure

a. Module 1: Life conditions

See Table S1

b. Module 2: Environmental conditions

See Table S2

c. Module 3: Present needs and future perspective

See Table S3

d. Module 4: Governance

See Table S4

II. Presentation of the studied sites

a. Studied sites map and information scheme

See FiguresS2 and S3.

b. Detailed presentation of the sites

1. RDS Mamirauá: protecting the várzea environment by developing ecotourism

The sustainable development reserve (RDS)Mamirauá is located at the confluence of the Solimões and Japurá rivers, in Amazonas State. It is a region of várzea, meaning a periodically flooded area in which fish are abundant. The area has been inhabited for centuries by traditional populations named ribeirinhos (river banks’ inhabitants), who, with the help of the Catholic Church, organized themselves into communities in the 1970s to defend their fishing groundsfrom industrial fishing boats coming from Manaus. At the beginning of the 1980s, zoologist Márcio Ayres proved that the zone wasendemic fora rare monkey, the bald Uacari (Cacajao Calvus sp.) and asked for the creation of a protected area. In 1990, the federal government answered his request bycreating an ecological station, meaning that all residentshad tobe expelled since this type of protected area excludes human presence. Facing local revolt with this decision, Ayres then created a non-government organization (NGO) named Sociedade Civil Mamirauá (SCM), and elaborated a new proposal for aprotected area, where traditional activities would be possible along with the protection of the local fauna. In 1996, the Amazonas state government created the Mamirauá Sustainable Development Reserve (RDS) on this basis, the statute of which wasthen incorporated into the federal law on protected areas to form the sustainable development reserve category (2000).

After the creation of the reserve, Ayres’ team continued to develop social and economic projects. In 2002, interested intheresults, the federal government created an institute to manage the whole area, named the Mamirauá Sustainable Development Institute (Instituto de Desenvolvimento Sustentável Mamirauá, or IDSM) under the Science and Technology Ministry.

RDS Mamirauá extends over more than 1,100,000 ha. It is divided between a “focal zone” (240,000 ha) and a “subsidiary zone” (884,000 ha), the first one, where our research took place, being more closely monitored. Population density in the area is very low: only about 2,100 people live in the 240,000 ha of the focal zone. The communities of the RDS are very small villages built on the river banks. People depend on the river for their living (especially for fishing) and for transportation.

A number of development projects were installed in the area, especially in thepart of the focal zone named “Mamirauá sector.” Among them, the ecotourism project is the most important in terms of financing but also in terms of notoriety. Based on a luxury lodge that was constructed through a grant from theDepartment for International Developmentin the United Kingdom, it offers a discovery of the várzea environment to tourists, with a chance of seeing the Uakari monkey. Its purposeis to involve local people as guides, waiters, cooks, etc., and to redistribute part of the benefits to the villages. About 700 tourists visit every year.

All the projects are sustained by theMamirauá Sustainable Development Institute (IDSM) and theMamirauá Civil Society (SCM), both working closely with each other. They mediate the relationship between the RDS andthe communities and do fundraising. IDSM further controls access to the RDS area, especially trying to avoid invasion by fishers. Other stakeholders are present, like the Catholic Church, which was historically important and continues to play a role by participating inthe RDS management council. A number of other actors fromthe private sector are also present in the RDS, especially business people who buy and sell fish, legally or illegally. Despite the efforts of IDSM and SCM to drive them away, they continue to have an important influence locally, providing some services that others do not provide, like informal credit.

The sustainable development projects in Mamirauá have had evident effects on livelihoods and the environment. People in the RDS enjoy better incomes and economic prosperity, and their income sources are now more diverse, making them less vulnerable to catastrophic events like droughts or inundations. Observations on local fauna show an evident recuperation for many species. However, some weaknesses may be alarming. The profitability of the lodge is not obvious and it is uncertain if it can make the necessary investments to maintain its structure. Other activities like forestry management or sustainable management of fish are also highly technical and difficult to install on a self-sustained basis. The common point in all these difficulties is education, since, until now, expertiseis still imported into the RDS and not found locally.

2. PAE Chico Mendes: toward a new way of life for forest people?

Extending over 24,900 ha, theExtractive Settlement Project(PAE) Chico Mendes is located inthe southern part of Acre State, near the BR-364 highway around which deforestation has been intense since the 1980s. PAE Chico Mendes is the community of origin of Chico Mendes, leader of the seringueiros(rubber tappers), and was the place in Acre where the fight of the “forest’s people” against farmers and deforestation started. The PAE itself was created in 1988, shortly after the assassination of Chico Mendes,which created intense emotion nationally and internationally.

Formalized in 1996, the PAE modality is inspired by the same principles thathave led to the creation of extractive reserves (RESEXes). Designed to guarantee the continuation of extractivist activities, it grants land rights to the inhabitants on a collective basis. Individuals are awarded only a right touse their parcels (still calledcolocaçãoes) and must obey a number of rules, among which are the prohibition of deforestation (clearing is limited to 10% of eachparcel) and a limitation of cattle to 30 heads perfamily.

The internal organization of PAE Chico Mendes hasnot changed much in the last 20 years. Colocaçãoes remain scattered through the area even though, since 2006, access to most of them is far better because the Acre state government has built a new road network within its “community forest.” Electricity also came along, and 44% of the families are connected today. Some families grouped their houses close to one to another, leading to the emergence of very small villages (Fé em Deus, Fazendinha, etc.). The PAE thus resembles more an ensemble of small communities than a single one.

At the end of the 1990s, PAE Chico Mendes became anexampleforsustainable development projects. One initiative is particularly notable: the installation of a community forestry program supported by the WWF and thelocal NGO CTA, and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Its creation has been rather polemical since theseringueiroshave always presented themselves asprotectors of the rainforest, making their engagement in forestry activities unacceptable for a number of their political allies. After a phase of heavy local presence, the WWF and the state government continue to support it by funding a cooperative in charge of selling the timber, the COOPERFLORESTA. Other development projects also took place in PAE Chico Mendes, like the construction of an ecotourism lodge andthe revival of the latex production thanks to the construction of a condom production plant in the nearby city of Xapuri.

The multiplication of these initiatives is clearly linked with the political context and the rise of the Workers’ Party locally and nationally. PAE Chico Mendes, being one of the party’shistorical supporters, has thus benefited with a number of state-sponsored projects, and was chosen to be the showroom of the “Florestania” political line adopted by the State of Acre since 2002, which aimed at valorizing people living in the forest by promoting or subsidizing a number of activities (latex collection, community forestry, etc.). Thus, not surprisingly, public stakeholders have an important role in PAE Chico Mendes. At the federal level, the National Institute for Colonization and Agricultural Reform (INCRA) manages the area and monitors it according to the management plan. At the state level, several bodies, among them the state’sSecretary for Forests, play a prominent role. For this reason, local and international NGOs are less present in PAE Chico Mendes than they were in the past. Last, local associations play an important part. The historical Residents and Producers’ Association in PAE Chico Mendes (AMPPAE-CM) is the most important, being the depositary of the political heritage of Chico Mendes. But dissatisfaction of members in some of the PAE Chico Mendes areas, whosee AMPPAE-CM as benefiting the profits of only a small part of its population, led to the creation of a new association named Fé em Deus, also recognized by the state government as legitimate. But even thoughthey have some conflicts, theassociationscome together when the political situation seems to call for unity.

PAE Chico Mendes can be seen as a success on a number of points but it is unclear if those successes are causes or consequences of the projects developed there. For instance, there is a strong political consciousness among its population, especially toward the importance of environmental protection. But isn’t it more the legacy of Chico Mendes than the consequence of the Florestaniaprograms? All the same, if the deforestation rate continues to be small in relation to its forested area (10.3%inside vs. 51.2%outside the PAE), is it because of the PAE’s rules or because of the valorization of the forest’s products by the sustainable development projects?

Responding to this debate may be only an academic matter. The fact is that the combination of improvement in livelihoods, the possibility ofhaving educational opportunitiesto the secondary level inside PAE Chico Mendes, and the better income derived today from extractivist activities seem to create favorable conditions for the inhabitants, especially the young couples who plan to stay and not migrate to the city, as is the case in many other PAEs. At the same time, negative or uncertain points also exist, especially concentrated around possible fluctuationsinforest product prices, the amount of subsidies allotted to them, and the long-term sustainability of the forestry activities that were incited by the Acre government.

3. RDS Iratapuru: Brazil nut gatherers and the big cosmetic firm

The Reserve of Sustainable Development (RDS) of the Iratapuru River is located in the western part of the State of Amapá. It extends over 806,000 ha of dense tropical forest, rich in typical Amazonian resources, especially inBrazil nuts (Bertholletia excelsa).The land of the RDS belongs to the State of Amapá and is under the control of the State Secretary of the Environment and Water Resources(SEMA), even thoughmany other actors (state, private, and communitarian) are also engaged in the management of the reserve.

The resources inside the reserve are exploited by approximately nine communities of castanheiros (Brazil nut collectors) located around the reserve limits, the most important one being the community of São Francisco do Iratapuru, which was formed in the1980s. With the creation of the RDS by Amapá in 1997, the local populations were granted usufruct of the resources inside the RDS in order to guarantee the continuation of their traditional activities, which were threatened by the pretensions of an agroindustrial company, the Jarí Cellulose, to enter the region for wood extraction andplanting eucalyptus.

The families of São Francisco are the principal users of the RDS. In order to collect the Brazil nuts and other resources, they spend several months a year in the forest, generally from January to July. Collection is indeed a complex and difficult endeavour in the geographical context of the RDS: the collection areas (colocações) are distributed along the Iratapuru River and on two of its tributaries, some being more than 80 km upstream, in a context where access to the collection areasand the transport of the nuts is done only by local boats. Once the harvest is finished and the nuts are brought home, part of eachnut is processed in the village cooperative (COMARU), created in 1992; the rest of it (the raw nut) is sold directly to intermediaries.

São Francisco clearly stands out among the extractive communities of the region. In fact, due to its efforts to build up a cooperative in order to improve their productivity and commercialization possibilities, São Francisco becamean example for sustainable development efforts in the Amazon region during the 1990s. The community indeed obtained massive support fromthe Amapá state government, in particular under Governor João Capiberibe (1995–2002), and from several big international agencies (e.g., the Pilot Program to Preserve the Brazilian Rain Forest [PPG7] andthe French Fund for the Global Environment) aimed at developing projects around the valorization of the Brazil nut.In 2004, after the replacementof Capiberibe by a governor less favorable to extractive projects, the COMARU succeeded in signing an innovative contract with a big company ofcosmetics, NATURA, to sell to the company Brazil nut oil, a product with a far better price than the raw nut. In addition to the recognition of traditional communities’ rights on genetic patrimony (additional payments for the use of “traditional knowledge”), the company also supported a certification process by the Forest Stewardship Councilof the community’s collective areas and the nut production process. The company also set up a system for payment of royalties in the form of a fund meant to finance local projects of socioeconomic development. However, the fund (around 2 million R$ by 2010) was only seldom released by the company and as a consequence, few of the promised development projects have effectively been carried out.Atthe same time, the economic partnership between the firm and the community has encountered several difficulties in the last few years, such as lack of liquidity and debt of the cooperative, conflicts of power within the cooperative leadership, lack of negotiation power of the community vis-à-vis the company, etc.

The result thatcan be observed today is a mixed process of economic progress and social imbalances, which affect the quality of life of the community’s population. On one hand, one can stress that the inhabitants of São Francisco succeeded in modernizing their extractive activities by the creation of a cooperative and the transformation of the raw nut into precious oil. On the other hand, it must be said that the living conditions in the village havenot caught up with the economic progress (until late 2009, only one-third of the houses had running water; electricity is available foronly threehours at night, the generator, however,being most often out of order; no medical care or pharmacy can be found in the community;etc.).

4. RDS Tupé: a reserve in the heart of the Amazon, at the threshold of a growing megacity

Sparcely populated after the Portuguese conquest, and therefore very well preserved ecologically, the banks of the Rio Negro are under growing pressure fromhuman settlements, especially near the constantly expanding city of Manaus. In this context, the need for preserving the neighboring areas led to the creation of new protected areas.

As early as the end of the 1980s, the banks of Tupé Lake had been classified as a “zone of ecological interest” due to its rich forest and the biological characteristics of the black waters of the Rio Negro. In 2005, the zone was institutionalized as an RDS. Extending over 12,000 ha, RDSTupé constitutes a particular case of environmental protection due to its proximity to the town of Manaus, the density of its population (500 families grouped into 5 communities), and the great number of actors who operate in the zone. Faced withthe persistence of a widely undefinedland situation, the creation of RDS Tupé corresponds to the interests of various public actors who, by preserving the environment, seek to control the occupation of the lands at the borders of the city. In this process, the representation of the reserve’s populations as “traditional” seems to be often idealized or even mistaken by some public policy actors who see them as connoisseurs of the traditional use of natural resources. However, the inhabitants of RDS Tupé are rather composed of groups of families having spent quite a bit of time of transition in the city, resulting in the adoption of sometimes very individualistic behaviors.

Today, the local population is marked by the coexistence ofthe structures of traditional occupation and new influences coming from the city, such as the idea of environmental preservation or the arrival of urban leisure activities. The latter, for example, have led to the arrangement of the beach and the construction of floating hotels on the river (jungle lodges). RDS Tupé thus offers a two-sided reality. On one hand, part of its population now works in Manaus, and middle-class families who want to flee the increase in cost of living and the violence of the big city poured in. As a consequence, commercial relations and communication with the city have been greatly improved, since the incomes of these families do indeed depend on Manaus more than on the economy inside the reserve. Thus, the evident improvement of living conditions in RDS Tupé is at least partly linked with its proximity to the city and a broad access to welfare transfers (bolsa familia and retirement pensions).