Sustainable Management of the Amazon Rainforest
The Amazon rainforest is located in the north of South America, spanning an area of around 8 million km2 including parts of Brazil, Columbia, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador Bolivia, Suriname, Guyana and French Guyana.
In some areas of the Amazon rainforest, sustainable management strategies are in place to ensure people today can get the resources they need in a way that ensures future generations can also benefit from the ecosystem.
Sustainable management strategies are affected by political and economic factors.
Governance relates to control of rainforests and who has a say in how rainforests are used. In some areas, rainforests are protected by national and international laws.
In Brazil, the largest protected area of rainforest is the Central Amazon Conservation Complex (CACC). The CACC covers 60000 km2 as is classified as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations, which means it is protected by international treaties. Limits are placed on hunting, logging and fishing and access is limited.
Central Amazon Conservation Complex (CACC)
In other areas local communities, with the help of NGOs, are involved in rainforest governance. In Columbia, an organisation known as Natütama is working with the local community in Puerto Nariño to protect river species such as the Amazon River dolphin. Local people are employed to teach members of the community on how to protect habitats and endangered river species. Local fishermen collect information about the number and distribution of species and report illegal hunting.
Commodity value means assigning a value to different good and services in a rainforest. Sustainable management ensures rainforests are worth. more than the value of the timber and other resources that can be extracted, such as gold. An example of this is sustainable foresty, which balances the removal of trees to sell with the conservation of the forest.
Selective logging involves only removing a small number of trees, allowing the forest to regenerate naturally. This saves money in the long run as logging companies do not need to replace felled trees.
Sustainable logging companies such as Precious Woods Amazon place limits on the number of trees being cut down so the rainforest can recover. They also use a range of species so that none are over-exploited.
International agreements try to reduce illegal logging and ensure timber comes from sustainable sources. The Forestry Stewardship Council allows the use of its logo by companies that operate in a sustainable way so consumers know they are buying sustainable timber.
FSC certified wood
Ecotourism is a type of tourism that minimises damage to the environment and benefits local people.
An example of an ecotourism project is the Yachana Lodge in Equador. It is located in a remote area of the Amazon Rainforest where local people rely on subsistence farming.
The project employs local people. This provides a reliable source of income and a better quality of life. The project encourages local people to use the rainforest in a sustainable way so tourists continue to visit.
Volunteers work with local Amazon youth who study at the Yachana Technical High School where learning is focused on five main areas:
- Rainforest conservation
- Sustainable agriculture
- Renewable energy
- Animal husbandry
- Micro-enterprise development.
Tourists are only allowed to visit in small groups, minimising their impact on the environment. Tourists take part in activities that help raise awareness of conservation issues.
Entrance fees are paid by the tourists which are invested in conservation and education projects.