As deforestation rates soar in the Amazon, national and regional governments are under pressure from the international community to control forest loss. The problem is that the current economic growth model relies on forest conversion for agriculture and livestock production, putting immense pressure on the forest and the indigenous communities living in it. But alternative development trajectories are possible.
The “Amazon Bioeconomy” we are proposing mimics traditional Amazon management systems, creating a diversity of supply chains based on the incredible natural wealth of the region. More than two decades of partnering with indigenous peoples in the region has taught us that long-term collaboration with indigenous communities on self-directed development models is the best way to stabilize the forest frontier. Doing so both helps them defend their forests from illegal activities and strengthens sustainable forest economies of their choosing.
We partner with indigenous communities in Brazil’s Tupi Mosaic to develop economic enterprises that promote forest conservation. We’re building sustainable value chains for four products: açaí, artisan products, Brazil nuts, and cacao. We are also demonstrating the business model for growing native seeds and seedlings to support forest replanting efforts in the Amazon.