Communities and Researchers Analyse Participatory Monitoring in the Cazumbá-Iracema Extractive Reserve in Acre State

The Participatory Biodiversity Monitoring Project (MPB), a partnership between the Chico Mendes Institute of Biodiversity (ICMBio), USAID and coordinated by IPE, completed one more cycle of feedback to the communities that take part in the initiative.

The event gathered over 120 people including biodiversity monitors, community members and representatives from ICMBio, IPÊ, Embrapa, WWF and the Sena Madureira Rural Workers Union in the Cazumbá-Iracema Extractivist Reserve (Resex) in Acre state. Members from at least four Resex communities (Cazumbá, Cuidado, Alto Caeté and Iracema) were present. Researchers and monitors presented the monitoring results to the communities and together discussed conclusions and next steps for the work.

The feedback is part of the participatory monitoring process to achieve better results. For example, researchers noted a drop in some animal species, and couldn’t fully understand why. Through discussions with the community and the monitors, they found out that the tabocais – a kind of bamboo forest where these animals live – have died, and concluded that the animals might have left the monitoring sites.

“An event like this is very important because it brings together different types of knowledge. We have people with technical perspectives and we have the monitors and extractivists from the community. Also, it’s a great opportunity for community members who have not been involved in the monitoring to find out more about what it is and what it involves.  For instance, if the monitoring shows that the number of pigs are decreasing, locals can choose not to hunt the pigs for a year”, says Ilnaiara Sousa, IPÊ’s local researcher.

The monitors do two types of data collection in the Resex – the standard ICMBio protocol for forests that keeps track of mammals, birds, butterflies and some types of plants, and also community monitoring where locals chose to monitor the Brazil nut trees as specific target of interest.

Francisco “Gabarito”, who lives in Cazumbá and isn’t involved in the project found it very interesting to go to the event.

“I wasn’t really aware of these issues. We didn’t know how the project worked, or what good it could bring us. And today I learned all the benefits it can bring, the treasure we have to protect. I had no idea of the importance of this monitoring, and today I learned that”, Gabarito explained.

The event is part of the Collective Building of Knowledge and Learning (CCAC in Portuguese) process, a consolidation of the MPB results.

“One of the fundamental focuses of the CCAC is shared management, because monitoring creates a lot of information that can be used for an effective management and for local organization. To make that happen, the different types of knowledge bases such as academia, community and management  need to come together to build a new shared perspective”, explained Leonardo Rodrigues, IPÊ’s consultant responsible for the initiative.