Rural communities have a central role in the conservation of biodiversity. Based on this conviction, ecologists and researchers formed Instituto Juruá for the Conservation of the Amazon.
Conservation performance in the Amazon is often strictly measured in terms of deforestation rates. Instituto Juruá team observed that tropical deforestation is usually a failure of local natural resource management in low-governance regions. This makes indigenous and traditional territories vulnerable to being taken over by predatory private enterprises, such as selective logging, mining and agriculture.
Instituto Juruá evolved from Projeto Médio Juruá, an applied research project that began activities along the Juruá River in 2007. The researchers noted the threats to conservation posed by overfishing by commercial fishing fleets, and the exploitation of turtles and their eggs by poachers. They also found that there was a significant distrust of the concept of conservation among local disadvantaged people. It is essential to combine conservation objectives with initiatives to reduce inequalities and improve access to education, health and food resources.
An integrated rural development
Instituto Juruá project provides an integrated rural development and applied for ecology research program in strong partnership with local residents, community associations and government. It has successfully contributed to the introduction of positive examples of community-based natural resource management, such as the management of pirarucu fishing and the protection of freshwater turtle nesting beaches.
These activities have a real impact on conservation. They improve the quality of life of local people by generating income for over 200 rural families, supporting women’s empowerment through sustainable fishing.
Instituto Juruá aims to expand existing community-based initiatives throughout the Amazon. It also plans to acquire land in the middle of Juruá and establish a community-based private protected area to showcase its innovative model of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.
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