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Commons and Community Management: The Case of Mamangua, Brazil

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Viana, Virgíllio; Nolasco, Adriana
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, Indiana, USA
Conf. Date: May 31-June 4
Date: 2000
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/235
Sector: Forestry
Information & Knowledge
Region: South America
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
forest management
local knowledge
community development
land tenure and use
rain forests
Abstract: "The challenge for alternatives to counter the prevailing processes that lead to deforestation in Brazilian tropical rainforests has been a matter of intense debate over the last few decades. A number of innovative development projects have been implemented, many of which have shown us that there are important lessons to be learned. However, these lessons have rarely been analyzed on academic fora, incorporated into the scientific literature, and incorporated in the process of formulating public policies. "This paper seeks to present a case study of an extractivist communities in the Municipality of Paraty, in the Brazilian State of Rio de Janeiro. These communities live inside two protected areas that overlap. They are descendants of Portuguese settlers that have mixed with Indian and African populations over the past centuries. Comunal property rights are not formally recognized. Most activities are related to native ecossystems, marine and terrestrial. We focus our analysis on forest ecossystems. Our objective is to use this case study to discuss the importance of local knowledge in implementing community development projects in areas where communal property rights prevail in tropical rainforest areas. Our thesis is that local knowledge is a critical element in the process of implementing sustainable development strategies. "Local knowledge is a critical element to secure communal property rights. This includes demarcation of land rights using maps and developing sound management systems. Maps offer a concrete reference to claim land tenure. Sound management systems are critical to argue that these communities can harvest forest products on a sustainable basis. There are a number of benefits for community development projects derived from incorporating local knowledge in the process of project design and implementation, including: (i) quality of information, (ii) speed to obtain information, (iii) cost of information, (iv) impacts on empowerment, (v) rights, (vi) illegal control of harvest of natural resources by external groups, (vii) enhancing self confidence, (vii) identification of problems and potentials, and (viii) strengthening social organizations. Many benefits observed in this case seem to be of general validity for similar situations where traditional communities live in tropical forest areas."

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