The native inhabitants of the Brazilian Amazon are celebrating a new protected forest!
On the 5th of June, World Environment Day, 581,173 hectares of forest around Xixuaú were granted legal protection. The area, more than half the size of Jamaica, integrates an important corridor of conservation units and is a key area to tackle climate change.
The new Reserve is superb news for the people engaged in the fight for the conservation of the Amazon as it is a step further in the protection of the forest and its traditional inhabitants.
Named the Extractive Reserve of the Lower Rio Branco-Jauaperi (RESEX), the new protected area has been created responding to a request formulated 17 years ago by the community of Xixuaú. In 2004 other villages along the Jauaperì joined the original request and since then the inhabitants of the Rio Jauaperi and the Rio Branco, in the states of Roraima and Amazonas, about 1.000 natives grouped in 10 villages, have militated with the support of local and international NGO’s such as Amazônia Onlus, Fundação Vitoria Amazônica, ISA and WWF Brazil to guarantee a long term sustainability of their forest.
The area presents a great biodiversity and a high state of conservation, with a priceless landscape and biological value.
A RESEX is a Conservation Unit specific to the territory of traditional extractive populations. The basic objective of this category is to conserve the livelihoods and culture of these populations, which maintains local biodiversity and the forest, and whose way of life is based on low impact fisheries and plantations, as well as collecting Brazil nuts, copaiba and fibres.
Victorious in a battle that lasted 17 years, we all look at the new phase starting now as the possible end of a cycle of conflicts and illegal exploitation of resources.
We would like to thank the many people that have dreamt with us and supported our work at Amazônia Onlus during this long journey with the words of our partner Claudio Maretti, vice-president of the World Commissionon Protected Areas of IUCN:
“Thanks to each of us, and all of us, many people, but above all the native inhabitants of the forest, in every place we have been, in every position we occupy, in the way we have been able to contribute! You cannot get something important by yourself. Never! A new phase starts now!”