Peruvian, Bolivian and Brazilian organizations will work together in the Acre River Basin land-use planning
Several Peruvian, Brazilian and Bolivian organizations agreed, in November, on doing a new land-use planning (land and water ordering plan) for the Acre River watershed area. The idea now is to take into consideration the entire river length and its catchment area (hydrographic basin), instead of working in the level of specific regions and countries, as it was previously done. The Acre River basin encompasses 310,000 square kilometers, and the area extends over three countries in the Southwest Amazon.
The mobilization is meant to help in the ecological land-use planning of this area, assisting the governments in the region for the implementation of more efficient public policies – policies that take into account the ecosystem services and the natural vocation of certain areas, identifying the land and water use strategies that are more efficient to achieve economic improvements for local population, while ensuring biodiversity conservation. In this way, it would be possible to maintain the resilience of the existing ecosystems according to the countries’ development plans.
According to WWF-Brazil’s conservation analyst Kennedy Souza, the first step of this work will be a briefing meeting. He pointed out: “We need information about how the natural resources (forest, freshwater etc) will be distributed, as well as about access (highways, secondary roads, and rivers), the land ownership system (protected areas, settlements, indigenous lands etc), the populations, and the main economic activities, among others”.
All the data will then be placed in a single platform for ecosystem services spatial modeling, to generate maps projecting the scenarios for the Acre River Basin. These maps, together with the partnership of local actors (government, civil society, and private sectors), will help to define the alternative strategies that can best harmonize the conservation of natural resources with local economic gains. “We want decision makers to use this information as a contribution to improve public policies”, said Kennedy Souza.
Another distinct feature of this work is the opportunity to incorporate the ecosystem services as a new dimension of the social, economic, and ecological land-use planning. The expert asked: “What is the amount of rain generated by the Acre River Basin? How much carbon is stored in this region? Which are the nutrients available in the soil of this area? What is the impact of human activities in the ecosystem services supply? Are we aware of the biodiversity that exists in the area extending across these three countries?” And his conclusion was: “We need to know, and should know, all of this”.
The mayor of Tahuamanu, in Peru, said that sustainable livelihoods in their jurisdiction are based on the use of their forests, which are generating significant income and employment through sustainable timber harvesting in forest concessions. Also the mayor of Tambopata, Peru, Alain Dark Gallegos, said his jurisdiction is betting on the development of its management tools and investment in sustainable projects to generate local economic development. Alonso Córdova, specialist of WWF-Peru, presented an analysis of the regional context of the Madre de Dios region for the good land management, proposing a coordinated land use that includes the promotion of cross-referenced agenda that consider climate change and risks management, indigenous peoples, gender and sustainable management.
André Dias, coordinator of the Strategy to Curb Deforestation and Fostering a Forest Economy of WWF’s Living Amazon Initiative, pointed out that two land-use planning (land and water ordering plans) were already designed for the Acre River – one for the portion of the river that is located in Acre state, in Brazil, and the other one for the part that is located in Madre de Dios province, in Peru. He explained that “nevertheless, we were in need of a regional, integrated approach, like a single management unit”.
He explained that the two land-use planning were made a few years ago, when certain concepts and technical capacities were not yet widespread. Andre Dias stated that “the region of the Acre River Basin still lacks a unified research and data base, starting with the impact of human activities on the ecosystem services supply and on the quality of life of the entire population in this transboundary region”.
The work agenda is under development and it is meant to get the job completed within the next six months. The process will include compiling the available data and official information; maps design, assessment and presentation; and capacity building for government officials, including in the local level, as well as for the representatives from civil society in Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil.
According to Kennedy Souza, “it is vital to ensure participation from the very beginning of the planning of activities – the participation of the governments from Pando (Bolivia), Madre de Dios (Peru), and Acre (Brazil), as well as from some local governments in those provinces or sub-national states, and the civil society. Therefore, we brought this theme to the MAP Forum1.”
This trinational action pact for cooperation in the Acre River Basin area was defined during the 10th edition of the MAP Forum (Madre de Dios, Acre, and Pando). This forum exists since the year 2000 and it is organized by governments, universities and the civil society. Politicians, public officials, scientists, representatives from social movements and activists from the three countries participate in the event to discuss the great challenges and opportunities regarding this trinational region.
In 2015, the Forum took place in Rio Branco, Acre’s capital city, in the Acre Federal University campus. As part of the Forum program, WWF-Brazil, WWF’s Living Amazon Initiative, WWF-Peru, and WWF-Bolivia promoted the Working Group on Ecosystem Territorial Management and Planning, in order to discuss a trinational cooperation work plan focused on the Acre River Basin.
André Dias, representing the Living Amazon Initiative, remarked that the exchange of information and the definition of the next steps were very important. “We wish to prevent the extreme impacts climate change – lately occurring in this region -- from becoming even more severe in the future. In that sense, it is important to maintain the resilience of the Amazon Biome, strengthening local capacities, supporting the supply chains, and consolidating the existing land-use planning (land and water ordering plans)”, stated Dias.
1MAP is the acronym for the three provinces/states involved in the Acre River Basin transboundary region in Southwest Amazon: M stands for Madre de Diós (in Peru); A for Acre (in Brazil); and P for Pando (in Bolivia).