“The Purus National Forest is a socio-environmental laboratory with human, institutional and community resources which favor the creation of resilient livelihoods based on the local development of appropriate technologies for forest communities.” – PNF Management Plan (BRAZIL, 2009)
The Mapiá Agro-forestry Project aims to promote ecovillage strategies and best practices in sustainability to isolated communities living in the Purus National Forest (PNF), in the state of Amazonas, Brazil, while enhancing food resilience and expanding existing regional agroforestry activities. Agroforestry provides a different land use option, compared with traditional forestry. It makes use of the complementarity between trees and crops, ensures a continuous food supply and some continuous economic return, and promotes the enrichment of the soil and the ecosystem.
The PNF is a Federally protected area comprising 256,000 hectares of Amazon forest. Over one thousand people live in the PNF, distributed in four population zones. The Mapiá Village (CMV) is an intentional community created by traditional forest people with about 800 inhabitants and is the main village in the PNF. It was founded 30 years ago guided by a collaborative culture, solidarity, recognition of the divine aspect of nature and social equality. Currently, it faces the pressures of the current globalized development system and needs to find creative local solutions to support the survival of its present and future generations.
Recently Ceu do Mapia community hosted a Gaia Education Design for Sustainability programme – AmaGaia- with approximately 90 participants who are now trained in the social, ecologic, cultural and economic dimensions of ecovillages and transition town processes. The age of the participants ranged from 14 to 79. The presence of leaders from several communities, including indigenous communities and representatives of federal institutions working in the region enriched the diversity of the group.
As part of the action learning process 8 working groups were created: Culture and Celebration; Education; Health; Governance and Infrastructure; Income Generation; Food Production; Community Fazenda São Sebastião; and the Purus Nation Forest. Each group created a collective dream and designed a strategy to be carried out during the next cycle, seeking to put in practice and locally adapt the contents learnt in the design for sustainability course. The group has been trained in the participatory methods of Transition Towns. The community representatives engaged in the process of visioning the future of region and in in-depth strategic thinking of how a resilient local infrastructure might become a reality for the region. The group answered the question How we may get there year-on-year through a jointly designed meaningful map of concrete actions.
APE UK has recently granted the Ceu do Mapia Food Production group support for the strengthening the agroforestry project planting the following species over one hectare of land:
· hardwood trees: mogno, cedro, cerejeira, cumarú, itaúba, teka, mulateiro, piqui
· andiroba, copaíba, jatobá, castanheira, ingá metro
· palm trees- açai, buriti, patoá, abacaba, pupunha, tucumã, ourocuri
· fruit trees- mango, cítricos, caju, cupuaçu, biribá, graviola, cajá, cacau, banana
The project will address the linkages between forest conservation and agroforestry development through a flexible agroforestry design that can respond to changing conditions. The external sources of funding will provide technical support and reliable seed stock and seedling supply.
APE UK is inviting other grant giving organisations to join efforts in supporting the agroforestry activities of Ceu do Mapia by curbing deforestation and improving livelihoods in the heart of Brazilian Amazon.
FOR A FULL REPORT OF THE PROJECT’S ACHIEVEMENTS TO DATE (FEBRUARY 2014) PLEASE SEE ATTACHED PDF, OPPOSITE.