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Between Common and No Man's Land: The Case of the Jaú National Park in Brazil

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Saragoussi, Muriel; Santos, Luíz Fernando de Souza
Conference: Constituting the Commons: Crafting Sustainable Commons in the New Millennium, the Eighth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Bloomington, IN
Conf. Date: May 31-June 4
Date: 2000
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/1329
Sector: Forestry
Region: South America
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
parks
land tenure and use
resource management
social networks
mapping
participatory management
Abstract: "Vitória Amazônica Foundation (FVA) is a nonprofit, non-governmental conservation organization based in Manaus, Amazonas, the largest state in Brazil. Created in 1990, FVA carries out multidisciplinary and local-oriented programs including scientific research, socio-economic and environmental education field projects, and a host of other conservation activities within the Rio Negro Basin. "Since 1993, FVA has had an agreement with the Brazilian Environmental Agency (IBAMA) to elaborate and implement the management plan of the Jaú National Park (JNP), the largest in Brazil (2,27 M ha). The Park was decreed in 1980 and during 12 years nothing happened. In 1992, most of the inhabitants didn't know they were living in a park or even what a National Park was. According to the Brazilian law, park inhabitants should be taken out of it. From the beginning, FVA considered that this might go against the interests of protecting the park integrity. "In order to elaborate the management plan and to define the zoning of the park, biotic, abiotic and social research was conducted. Extensive work was done with the park inhabitants, including mapping their use of natural resources and trying to understand their relation with the environment. Discussions and research conducted by FVA creates awareness, but also, through the mapping activities, creates anxiety about its meaning. In a region were most part of the people are illiterates, putting data into papers kind of crystallizes the situation it was suppose to illustrate. The land use in the park can be classified as being private (like manioc field or houses and homegardens), communal (community, churches, schools, football fields, manioc flour over) or commons (forest, lakes, rivers). Each of these situations implies in different forms of use and responsibility to the users park inhabitants and external users. But as a National Park, it is above all a public land with a particular state responsibility performed by IBAMA and where no natural resource uses are allowed. This situation leads to contradictions and confrontations. "To overcome possible negative impacts on social and natural environment, FVA and its partners are developing new tools and agreements among social actors involved. Among the activities undertaken are: consolidate local leadership, strengthen social organization, foster legal organization, improve local decision making process, form local teachers into social and environmental concepts, form volunteers environmental agents. The maps of natural resources uses and the management plan became instruments to be appropriate by the inhabitants in their dialogue with the government developing a new, and maybe more real, participatory process."

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