Green July: Sustainable Development of Mangrove Areas

Women participate in an activity during the Mães do Mangue meeting
International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem is celebrated in July, mobilizing USAID and PPA partners

June/July 2023 – In addition to being the most biodiverse tropical forest on Earth, the Amazon is also home to the world's largest continuous mangrove stretch. Mangroves are coastal ecosystems that develop in estuarine environments, where rivers meet the ocean. Mangrove soils are effective carbon sinks and play an important role in mitigating climate change. They are rich in biodiversity, with more than 200 species of plants, 600 species of aquatic vertebrates, and home to large numbers of birds. 

Three states in the Amazon biome concentrate about 80 percent of all Brazilian mangroves: Maranhão, Pará, and Amapá. The Pesca para Sempre project is being implemented by the non-governmental organization Rare Brazil in the state of Pará. 

Pesca para Sempre engages 12 extractive reserve communities and their associations with support from USAID/Brazil through the Enraíza PPA. Pesca para Sempre aims to support and promote the sustainable economic development of artisanal fishers in traditional communities.

The partnership is currently developed on five fronts: strengthening financial inclusion and a fair market value for artisanal fishers; financial and entrepreneurial education for women in fishing communities; strengthening community-based shared fisheries management; conservation of biodiversity by monitoring fishing and ecological production in mangroves; training, mentoring, and supporting fishers and beneficiaries to facilitate their access to public policies.

Enraíza PPA: For Sociobiodiverse & Sustainable Amazons is an initiative led by the Partnership Platform for the Amazon (PPA) and the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT. It will work with six projects in total (learn more about them here). 

This month we celebrate the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem, Pesca para Sempre launched its Green July campaign, with several activities that aim to raise awareness about the importance of these ecosystems and their “guardian” communities. The initiative encourages residents to participate in the management of conservation units, recognizing the value of biodiversity.

“Each association will carry out an activity, based on what they consider the most useful for their own artisanal fishermen and fisherwomen. Throughout the month, we will engage with youth and women, as well as several different sectors,” explains Rare Brazil's senior implementation manager, Maura Sousa. 

Mangrove Mothers - One of the groups playing an important role in this process is known as Mangrove Mothers, a network of women created in 2020 to enhance female participation in activities related to artisanal fishing in mangroves and monitoring of species and conservation areas. 

“Women are often invisible, but they play an extremely important role among marine extractive workers. In addition to preparing the fish, women are often in charge of managing finances at home in this community. They usually spend all day in their communities and are able to identify matters of concern, such as predatory extractive activities, in addition to caring after their children's education and passing on lessons to the next generations,” adds Maura.

In May, the Mangrove Mothers hosted a forum in Belém, Pará. They brought together women from 34 communities, including female extractive reserves leaders and representatives of the Marine Reserve Associations. The event included the second call for the Seed Fund, created to meet women's demands, with a focus on small projects. The grants are paid through local associations, thus bringing them closer together.

Woman wearing red skirt and green sleeveless top walks during event

In the coming months, training sessions focused on women will support small projects and enterprises. 

Other training highlights include good practices in the crab value chain and production monitoring. 

Learn more about the Mangrove Mothers and watch testimonials on their network website