Mangroves: Conserving and Valuing Biodiversity

Extractivists in meeting about mangroves
First conference to bring together partners and extractive workers to discuss mangrove protection

September / October, 2023 – The first Amazon Mangrove Conference brought together – for the first time ever in Belém, state capital of Pará – extractive workers, youth, women, and partners, including government, academia, and local organizations. They discussed a range of topics, including achievements, opportunities, and upcoming challenges along the Amazon coast. 

During the conference, participants discussed community businesses linked to sociobiodiversity and the bioeconomy, as well as windows of opportunities for the Amazon territory and for the management of conservation areas resulting from COP30, the United Nations Climate Conference to be held in Belém in 2025.

The event was organized by the Rare Brazil Association, in partnership with 12 Marine Extractive Reserve Associations and the National Commission for the Strengthening of Marine Extractive Reserves and Coastal and Marine Peoples (CONFREM). It received strategic support from USAID/Brazil and the Partnership Platform for the Amazon (PPA). 

Early this year, the Fishing Forever project, implemented by Rare Brazil in the state of Pará, received support through the Enraíza PPA: For Sociobiodiverse & Sustainable Amazons initiative. In addition to the PPA and USAID, involves the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT. 

“When we talk about Amazon mangroves, we think not only about ecosystem services but also about the role they play in the lives of local communities, including their culture," pointed out Monique Galvão, vice president of Rare Brasil, at the event opening. 

Brazil is home to 10 percent of the world's mangroves, 80 percent of which are in the Amazon. In addition to protecting the coastal zone, mangroves help regulate the climate; they sequester and store carbon; and serve as food for various animal and aquatic species. They provide a source of income and food security for the local population. 

The event attracted community representatives from CONFREM and other associations, including Mangrove Mothers, a network created in 2020 to value women’s participation in activities linked to artisanal fishing and monitoring species and conservation areas. The Cuíras Marajoara group, formed by youth from the Soure Extractive Reserve, mobilized for environmental and biodiversity conservation.

Public leaders from 14 coastal municipalities attended the event, including mayors, managers, and other officials linked to the environment and fisheries departments. The municipalities are members of the Coastal 500 Global Public Leadership Network.

They promote new incentives for artisanal fishing and the extractive agenda at the local level, while engaging local governments to participate in the shared management of extractive reserves. Discussions involved academia, researchers, students, and representatives from the federal and state governments.

Watch the first day of the event here