Fires rage close to Cristalino State Park
Fires are spreading across Brazil’s Mato Grosso state and are nearing the boundaries of Cristalino State Park. They have been set to clear rainforest for farming, ranching and other activities.
The danger posed by the out-of-control fires emphasizes the urgent need for a combination of effective park management, environmental education and sustainable livelihood models. Cristalino is a critical refuge of Amazonian wildlife such as the white whiskered spider monkey but lies in the ‘arc of deforestation.’
Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is determined to break the cycle of land degradation that forces small-holder farmers to sell out to cattle ranchers and move on, using fire to clear new forest areas ever closer to the park.
Together with partners Instituto Ouro Verde (IOV) and Fundação Ecológica Cristalino (FEC), FFI is currently supporting communities around the park to develop ecologically and economically sustainable livelihoods.
One of the innovative aspects of FFI’s approach is our assistance to communities to restore degraded water springs and diversify their agricultural crops. The produce is marketed as environmentally friendly through a co-operative type arrangement.
Over 120 farming households are now involved as producers and two regional supermarket chains are purchasing produce through this system. Consumers are also able to place orders online for local delivery.
The aim is to enable people living close to the protected areas to sustainably manage their land and make a viable living from agricultural crops.
This livelihood scheme is part of FFI’s holistic approach to biodiversity conservation within Cristalino State Park and adjacent private protected areas.