Green Markets, Non-Timber Forest Products and Empowering Communities in Terra do Meio, Brazil

Helga Yamaki, ELP 2013, Brazil

In Brazil, 128 millions hectares have been set aside for use by forest communities. Most forest communities depend on the harvesting and commercialization of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) for their subsistence. The Terra do Meio region, in the state of Para, has been declared by the federal government in 2006-2008 a high priority region for biodiversity conservation.

Since 2010, the Institute of Forest and Agricultural Management and Certification (Imaflora) has been working with Instituto SocioAmbiental (ISA) to assist the communities that are subsisting on the Amazon Forest in order to promote the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in this area by providing support and guidance to 120 families, giving them the ability to access Green Markets.

These protected areas are immersed in a complicated context for conservation, such as:

-The construction of the hydroelectric plant of ‘Belo Monte’ in the same region increases the demand for fish and wood (forest resources), making the extractive sure to manage the forest (collection activity sustainable) only for fishing or to help cut illegal timber;

-They are located far from the city, being one day by boat, and they are located along the river, making it the work of associations and co-operation;

-Are not sufficiently organized for timber management;

This scenario will only get worse, as with each day the number of people increases with the construction of the plant and thus an increased pressure for wood and fish.

The main objective of this work is to find solutions compatible with the local reality in the pursuit of markets for differentiated and adequately compensated extractive production, contributing to a traditional activity becoming competitive against other activities that are not compatible with the conservation units (cattle, illegal timber, and others).