The Envira project in Brazil’s Amazon basin protects 39,300 hectares of tropical forest from logging and encroaching cattle ranches. This simultaneously preserves the areas rich biodiversity and mitigates the release of over 1,250,000 tCO2e on average each year. The project also fosters economic opportunities for local communities through sustainable farming and the sale of acai berries and medicinal plants, promotes environmental stewardship, and provides health services and educational courses.
From the 1980s onwards, paving of the major east-west corridor, Highway BR- 364, greatly increased regional market access to the Brazilian State of Acre, leading to increased property values and the expansion of cattle ranching. A major detrimental consequence has been deforestation, as environmentally damaging human activities encroach on the Amazon Basin.
Around 60 km southeast of Feijó town in Acre, the Envira Amazonia project runs along both sides of the Jurupari River in the Amazon Basin on land formerly owned by the businessmen Duarte Jose do Couto Neto and Bento Ferraz Pacheco. In 2009, the pair sold 200,000 hectares of land to forest management experts, and the Envira Amazonia project was established to sequester carbon by preserving the 39,300 hectares of forests within the area previously destined for deforestation and conversion to pastures. Local communities are an essential component of the project, with the local project manager hiring guides, boat drivers and cooks from the local community.
As well as sequestering carbon, the Envira Amazonia project also establishes alternative sustainable economic opportunities for local communities that promote environmental stewardship and protect biodiversity. Community meetings, teaching courses and other educational initiatives, for example, are run out of the project headquarters. Moreover, rainforest conservation itself protects forest ecosystem services – like air and water filtration, water and nutrient cycle regulation, flood protection, as well as the intrinsic, spiritual and cultural value tropical forests provide for communities. Combined, these activities help discourage deforestation in the wider region.