There are ways beyond logging

Resex Verde para Semper - Photo: Instituto Interelos

Interelos team opens dialogue with communities of Resex Verde para Semper in search of alternatives to wood exploitation 

In the week of September 20, the Instituto Interelos team left for Porto de Moz, in the state of Pará, to meet with communities of extractive workers and producers from the Verde para Semper Reserve. This was the first of many trips that the institute's consultants will make to learn more about the actors and the social context of the region, in order to study some proposals for the expansion of sustainable economic activities within the reserve, which today survives predominantly from the exploitation of the wood, followed by activities with buffaloes, livestock, flour production, fish and others. Verde, as it is called by many places, is the largest Sustainable Use Conservation Unit in Brazil with an area of approximately 1.3 million hectares. Its creation in 2004 took place after serious conflicts of interest between loggers and local communities with the support of organizations that sought to preserve and protect the region's natural resources. In recent years, however, the pressure to contain the advance of illegal deforestation and the accelerated degradation of ecosystems has made the search for other management alternatives more intense and relevant.

The incursion started in Altamira, passing through the cities of Vitória do Xingu and Porto de Moz until it covered part of the deep interior of the Verde transition zone. The occupation of the territory followed the economic cycles of the Amazon region, resulting in a complex extractive relationship with deep bases that are reflected in the population's lifestyle until today, which could be seen in the speedboat transfers traveled by the consultants aboard the small vessel. that led them through the Xingu River and its tributaries, between the dazzling landscape of the streams reflected in the water, the displacement was also revealing irregularly distributed houses, whose residents benefit from the Federal Government's 'Light for All' Program, which through Solar energy and inverters guarantee electricity to many families residing along the reserve.

In a conversation with the residents, Aerton Paiva, president of Interelos, noted how ostensible the incentive for logging is in the region and the lack of perspective in relation to other economic activities. “Many people we talked to say they either sell wood or they can't survive. Residents, visibly embarrassed by the sale of wood, ask for help to change this scenario. What you can see is that there are several realities in the region, of families closed in on themselves and others, living together in typically community organizations”, explains Aerton, who insists on the principle that, before any action, it is necessary to understand the context very well. and respect the uniqueness of each location. 

The program being developed by Interelos, with the support of the CLUA (Climate and Land Use Alliance), aims to expand sustainable economic activities in the reserve, which allow the creation of economic alternatives from forest and non-timber products. The action is also intended to open markets for seasonal management or extractive activities, such as the collection of non-timber products, such as açaí, oils, andiroba, copaíba, pracaxi, fish and so on.

The agenda for the trip included a schedule full of activities to guide the next steps. In addition to interviews with local residents, they were able to learn about the management of açaí in the region, visited the Ice Factory of the Porto de Moz Fishing Association, which performs an extremely efficient operation, even with a lean workforce, meeting the demand of ice from across the region. The team also participated in the assembly of COMAR (Cooperativa Mista Agroextrativista Floresta Semper Viva Três Rios), created for the commercialization of community products, and meetings with the CDS (Council for Sustainable Development of Porto de Moz).

On the next trip, scheduled for October 2021, the Instituto Interelos team will be divided into three fronts: 1. Fishing and Buffalo; 2. Chestnut, Wood and Oils (Andiroba and Breu); 3. Schools. The idea is to refine the dialogue in the convergence of purpose for the multiple potentials of community-based businesses that can strengthen the almost 2,500 families in the region, among them Seu Cametá, Erisvaldo, Edilene and many others.

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