This project is protecting an area of the Brazilian Amazon that is threatened by deforestation. By increasing the economic value of the standing forest and improving surveillance, the project aims to protect this critical habitat and create better living conditions for local inhabitants.
Where & Why
The endemic center of Belém is an area of immense biodiversity within the Brazilian Amazon. The region is home to more than 450 animal and plant species, many of which are found nowhere else on the planet.
Unfortunately, this part of the Amazon has been severely deforested over the years, leaving the landscape fragmented and degraded. As new roads were constructed in recent decades, they enabled people to penetrate deeper into the forest and the population grew rapidly. This coupled with extreme poverty and weak law enforcement have made the region susceptible to an ongoing cycle of deforestation. Local communities are lured in by the financial incentives offered by illegal loggers and coal producers who are eager to cut down their trees. After the timber resources are depleted, the remaining vegetation is typically burned and cleared to grow crops or graze cattle. Once these pastures and croplands are degraded, more forests are cleared. To date, more than 75% of the region’s forest cover has been compromised.
The loss of Brazil’s lush rainforest habitat poses a grave risk to species such as the black bearded saki monkeys and Kaapori capuchin monkeys, which are currently in critical danger of extinction. As the forests are stripped bare, their carbon stores are released into the atmosphere which contributes to global climate change.
How & Who
This project is protecting one of the largest remaining blocks of forest within Belém’s center of endemism. The project aims to keep the forest standing by addressing the main drivers of deforestation in the region. This includes developing alternative economic activities that promote forest conservation, such as harvesting acai berries or other non-wood forest products, and strengthening local producer cooperatives. These new opportunities will provide families with additional income so that they no longer need to resort to illegal logging or charcoal production. The project will also encourage the use of more productive and sustainable farming practices that minimize the need to clear more forest areas. Further efforts to curb illegal timber harvesting include using satellite images to identify possible sources of deforestation.
Over the next 30 years, the project aims to avoid the deforestation of more than 15,000 acres of the Amazon rainforest.
- Mitigates climate change by preventing deforestation
- Protects 71,047 acres of forest cover
- Conserves biodiversity by protecting the habitats of endangered species
- Increases income for impoverished communities
- Trains local producers on sustainable forest management and land use
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