This article is part of a Special Issue of Natureza & Conservação (ISI indexed, impact factor of 1.5), organized by the guest editors Jean Paul Metzger and Pedro Brancalion, both from University of São Paulo (USP) (http://abeco.org.br/volume-11-numero-2).
Since 1999, Green Life Association of Amazonia (Associação Vida Verde da Amazônia – AVIVE) has worked on the island of Silves, deep in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, to build a trade in aromatic soaps, candles, cosmetics, and perfumes containing the oils of medicinal plants such as rosewood and andiroba. By adding value to the raw materials obtained from native forest species and eliminating middlemen in the value chain, this women-led initiative has improved incomes for its members and associates.
Pacari Network brings together 47 traditional pharmacies and community-based organizations to cultivate medicinal plants, preserve traditional ecological knowledge and health traditions, and protect the biodiversity of Brazil’s Cerrado biome. In the absence of comprehensive legislation recognizing traditional health practices, Pacari has mobilized medicinal plant producers and local health practitioners to develop self-regulation.
This group currently co-manages the Mamirauá and Amaña Reserves, covering a combined total of 3.5 million hectares of flooded tropical forest and wetlands in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. Founded in 1992, the initiative is an environmental policy and research body that brings together academic institutes and local communities in the sustainable management of the area’s wetland resources.
This agroforestry project facilitates a variety of initiatives focused on supporting both family and commercial level agricultural production. The Association of Smallholder Agroforestry Producers brings together migrant farmers and indigenous rubber tappers in the Abuna region of northern Brazil. Since 1989, these two groups have worked together to improve the agricultural productivity of their forest landscape, recognizing the importance of respecting and adapting to the uniqueness of each community’s culture and local knowledge.
This research institute, based in the Brazilian state of Acre, devised a method for the artisanal processing of raw latex obtained from Hevea brasiliensis rubber trees, suitable for small-scale production in forest-based communities of indigenous rubber tappers in the Brazilian Amazon. Replicating the technology is a highly individualized process, taking into account the social and cultural setting of each client community as well as the difficulties of establishing forest-based production.
FrutaSã has its roots in a scoping study of the Brazilian Cerrado eco-region conducted in the 1990s to determine socioeconomic challenges facing smallholder farmers and indigenous communities. Alongside mounting environmental threats to the region, exacerbated by the economic marginalization of the rural communities and subsequent over-exploitation of local resources, these findings inspired the ‘Fruits of the Cerrado’ project, which eventually became FrutaSã Industry, Trade and Export Ltd.
Couro Vegetal da Amazônia began operating in the Brazilian state of Acre in 1996, in an attempt to improve the livelihood opportunities and wellbeing of Amazonian rubber-tapping communities. This project brought together more than 200 local and indigenous families in three forest communities, providing training in an innovative processing method to produce sheets of vulcanized rubber.
The Oyster Producers’ Cooperative of Cananéia (Cooperativa dos Produtos de Ostras de Cananéia – Cooperostra) is a community-based organization centered on the Mandira Extractive Reserve in São Paulo’s Cananéia estuary lagoon. Launched in the mid-1990s following state-led interventions aiming at improving the sustainability, viability, and hygienic quality of artisanal oyster harvesting in Mandira, the initiative quickly grew to incorporate harvesting communities throughout the Cananéia estuary.
Working in the caatinga ecosystem of northeastern Brazil, Carnaúba Viva has introduced innovative means of sustainably managing the carnauba tree (Copernicia prunifera), a locally-abundant palm species whose leaves can be used for wax production. Working with the indigenous people of the Jaguaribe-Açu territory and in partnership with the Brazilian Ministry of Environment, the initiative has developed sustainable harvesting of carnauba tree derivatives that has underpinned conservation efforts and improved local livelihoods.