Sustainable use of natural resources in Amazonian forest reserves
Extractive and sustainable development reserves are increasing in number and aggregate area across tropical forest regions. Yet there is little understanding of how sustainable current harvests of forest and freshwater resources actually are. We work in western Brazilian Amazonia, where deforestation rates remain low but where many natural resources extracted by human populations for subsistence or sale are at risk of overexploitation. Resources are harvested from forest environments (e.g. game vertebrates, fruits and seeds, medicinal oleoresins) and freshwater bodies (e.g. fish and turtles from oxbow lakes, streams and rivers) to sustain the basic livelihoods of both reserve residents and the surrounding population.
Projeto Médio Juruá (PMJ) is named after our study location in the Brazilian State of Amazonas, along the mid-section of the Rio Juruá – a prominently meandering tributary of the Rio Solimões. Our work in this region has been primarily based in two contiguous reserves in the municipal district of Carauari: the Uacari Sustainable Development Reserve (RDS Uacari) and the Médio Juruá Extractive Reserve (ResEx Médio Juruá) but also extends to rural communities and urban centres outside the official protected areas. Ultimately this project aims to develop, in partnership with our collaborating institutions in Brazil, a sustainable co-management protocol to inform the sustainable use of game, fisheries and other non-timber forest products by rural communities throughout the Brazilian Amazon.
We are grateful to Darwin Initiative for our initial source of funding. Projeto Médio Juruá and this PMJ website cover the activities of two independent Darwin grants and subsequent independent funding from multiple sources.
Our current activities are primarily concerned with the sustainable management of freshwater fisheries and other aquatic resources.
From the seeds planted by Projeto Médio Juruá, our collaborative work in the Brazilian Amazon continues to bear fruit today through a newly launched non-profit organization: Instituto Juruá. For updated information about our ongoing research and conservation activities, please see our new Instituto Juruá website and associated social media channels.