Projeto Abraço Verde: A Practice-Based Approach to Brazilian Atlantic Forest Conservation

Scott C. Fenimore
Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, 205 Prospect Street, New Haven, Connecticut

Laury Cullen Jr.
Caixa Postal 91, Teodoro Sampaio, SP, 19280-000, Brasil

The Brazilian Atlantic Forest of the Interior is experiencing dramatic human pressure as newly
landed communities increase farming along the edge of the remaining fragments of this important
ecosystem. This paper describes and analyzes a project developed to reduce these pressures and
restore the forest fragments. This practice-based approach addresses the lack of practical farming
education in government land redistribution policies through a cooperative agroforestry project
aimed at local "landless" farmers and large landowners. The program provides skills and technical
assistance to farmers, contingent on participants including a majority of their trees in buffers to
forest fragments. In order to transplant this cooperative program to regions facing similar pressures, it
is necessary to establish trust among participants prior to commencing with the program; understand
participant needs and expectations; and keep the program simple. Incorporating these three elements
into a cooperative project results in a more successful and rewarding conservation program.