The Tapajós National Forest (Flona) will be Brazil’s first national forest in which the resident population will practice timber management on a grand scale.
Flona communities in Santarém, in the northern Brazilian state of Pará, should embark on this task in October. The initiative will be conducted through the Ambé project, which, in turn, is backed by the Brazilian Environmental Institute’s (Ibama) ProManagement project.
“The management will cover a non-populated area of as much as 200 thousand hectares [the total area of the Flona is 551 thousand hectares],” said Viviane Gonçalves, coordinator of ProManagement activities in the Tapajós Flona.
Local associations and cooperatives will carry out a project on a pilot basis. There are four intercommunity associations, nine community associations, and a cooperative in the Flona.
“The proceeds of wood sales will go to them and the general funds that they themselves established,” Gonçalves explained.
The ProManagement project is a subprogram of the Pilot Program for the Protection of Brazilian Tropical Forests (PPG7), which got its start at the Eco-92 (the World Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992) and is maintained through international cooperation funds, mostly from Germany. The Ministry of Environment (MMA, Ministério do Meio Ambiente) is responsible for the general coordination of the PPG7.
ProManagement activities in the Tapajós Flona officially began in 1999 and currently involve 400 of the 1,100 families that live in the conservation unit.
“What we have developed are small-scale timber and non-timber management initiatives. The goal is to improve the quality of life of the residents, as well as creating reference points for other Amazon Flonas,” the coordinator observed.
The activities include the production of oleoresins (from copaíba and andiroba trees), used by the cosmetics industry in Rio de Janeiro; items made from what is known as ecological leather, produced from rubber trees and sold on the domestic market and to local tourists; and rustic furniture from fallen trees, sold mainly in the Southeast region.
“The project that provides financing for these three activities ends next year, but I believe that they have already acquired autonomy.”
The MMA affirms that it is analyzing a set of 15 indicators to evaluate forest management. “These indicators were created in the context of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty. By the end of the year, they will have been tested,” said the MMA’s director of Forests, Tasso Azevedo.
“One of the interesting indicators is the number of forest management projects certified in accordance with internationally recognized social, environmental, and economic standards.”
The National Forests are publicly owned areas containing native or cultivated plant cover and established for the following purposes:
I. To promote natural resource management, with emphasis on the production of wood and other plant products;
II. To ensure the protection of water resources, natural attractions, and historical and archeological sites;
III. To stimulate the development of basic and applied scientific research, environmental education, and recreational, leisure, and tourism activities.