Cooperation between US and Brazil Leads to a New Conservation Units Management Plan Model

The new format of the conservation units management plan used by the Chico Mendes Institute of Biodiversity (ICMBio) is an adaptation of the model used by the United States Park Service. The first pilot plans were developed by the São Joaquim National Park and the Soure Marine Extraction Reserve (Resex). The first one to be approved is in the Cairuçu Environment Reserve in Rio de Janeiro.

The Soure Resex is one of the areas supported by the Partnership for the Conservation of Amazon Biodiversity (PCAB). It was created in response to concerns of extractivists (wild harvesters), about overfishing in one of the richest aquatic regions of the country, where the Amazon River meets the ocean. Published in August 2018, the Resex Management Plan rules were created by a team of technicians and extractivists to regulate fishing, crabbing and shrimping, and will now be validated by ICMBio using the new framework.

The first step towards the approval was taken between 22 and 25 October 2018, during the first Natural Resources Planning and Management workshop. Technicians from different ICMBio areas met with Brazilian and American experts to develop the structure of a “specific plan for natural resources” to help evaluate the sustainability of using these resources, especially in conservation units that allow extraction. These plans will also support current efforts to create adequate regulations and standards, while developing more efficient mechanisms for the use and conservation of natural resources. 

According to Luiz Felipe Moraes, the coordinator of the workshop and Environmental Analyst with the Management Plan Coordinator (COMAN), “In this planning proposal the different areas involved in the process talk to each other, taking into consideration the local context, traditional knowledge and academic monitoring. As a result, the management plan becomes more dynamic, with participatory monitoring and a specific planning process for managing and using resources.”

The workshop allowed participants to develop parameters to evaluate the resource situation, understand the step-by-step process, as well as who is responsible for each part. “We will refine this and begin a pilot exercise”, says Moraes. According to him, the main advantage of the new methodology is that it no longer focuses solely on the management plan; we can think more strategically about specific and strategic planning needs for in certain areas”.

 After the validation of the new rules, the Soure Resex Board members will announce the plan to the community. “We want to bring the plan and the rules for each sector to the association meetings, distribute it in schools, hotels and bead and breakfasts”, explains Paulo Torres, president of the Crabcatchers Association of Soure.