Cross-border initiative for land-use planning of 310 thousand hectares of Amazon Forest
Representatives of governmental, research and civil society organizations from the three countries gathered to learn about and get trained on the use of the tool that helps mapping goods and services provided by nature like the supply of drinkable water and fresh air, carbon sequestration, pollination and climate regulation, among many others.
Human well-being and most of the economic activities depend on a healthy environment. A strategic approach regarding the benefits provided by nature - ecosystem services - allows identifying how we depend on the environment, both directly and indirectly. Such perception is expected to support the generation of public and management-related policies.
“Considering the ecosystem services when formulating policies and land-use management plans could save future costs for municipalities, and could also improve local economies, quality of life while ensuring the population’s livelihood”, explains André Dias, coordinator of the Strategy Curbing Deforestation and Fostering a Forest Economy of the WWF Living Amazon Initiative.
The standards defined in the InVEST RIOS software allow for calculating how changes in a given ecosystem may affect the supply of environmental services. The tool also supports the generation of future scenarios and can serve as a tool of support to land and environmental management, in addition to the strategic decision-making for localities aimed at better and more sustainable use of natural resources available.
The managers of the State Production Secretariats, of the Environment Institute and of the Climate Changes Institute of Acre - one of the major working partners of the WWF in the Amazon - participated in the training as Brazilian representatives. In addition, representatives of Embrapa Acre and the Federal University of Acre (Ufac) have also attended the training.
According to Eufran do Amaral, the General Director of Embrapa-Acre, the use of that tool will play an important role in the work developed with Indigenous Territories in the state of Acre towards evaluating and valuating environmental services. “There is an opportunity for integrating with other research initiatives dealing with the economic valuation of the impact ensuing from changes on land-use. The tool could also contribute to the inventory on release of greenhouse effect gases in the state; this activity is under the responsibility of Embrapa. Finally, the management of Conservation Units using the RAPAM method could include the use of this tool to effectively evaluate contributions towards preserving the ecosystem services provision”, he said.
Peru was represented by the secretaries of Environment from the provinces of Madre de Dios, while Bolivia was represented by researchers and professors from Pando and Cochabamba universities.
The WWF offices from Brazil, Peru and Bolivia have participated in the process as mediators and organizers of the meeting, held in March.
Javier Ricardo Castro works for the Regional Planning Management of the Madre de Díos Province in Peru, and explained the usefulness of the software and of the training delivered. “We are in a process of consolidating our maps on land use and coverage relating these with ecosystem services. The training is a crucial element to validate our land-use planning before the Peruvian national authorities”, he said.
Kennedy Alencar, conservation analyst of the WWF-Brasil, stated that this workshop was aimed at assisting the planning of an upstanding future of responsible use to the elements that compose the Acre River Basin.
“Our purpose is of thinking over land use in that region for the next 20 or 30 years. We want to design an action plan taking into consideration this tri-national collaborative work, this exchange of ideas and talks involving actors from the three countries”, he explained.
The director of the Climate Changes Institute of Acre, Magaly Medeiros, emphasized the political relevance of this joint mobilization. “This initiative headed by the WWF is not a matter of integrating scientific data, but also of integrating public policies”, she stated.
To provide continuity to the joint land-use planning in the region, another training workshop will be delivered late in April to consolidate data and information about the region.