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Constructing a policy and institutional framework for an ecosystem-based approach to managing the Lower Amazon floodplain

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A regional experiment in co-management is underway in the Lower Amazon that is developing the basic policy and institutional elements for an ecosystem-based approach to floodplain management. This initiative grew out of the grassroots movement of floodplain communities who, concerned with excessive commercial fishing pressure on local fisheries, took control of local lakes and implemented collective agreements regulating fishing activity. This paper describes the main elements of the evolving regional management system. This process has focused on four main dimensions of floodplain settlement and resource use: development of sustainable management systems for floodplain resources, policies and institutions for fisheries co-management, collective agreements for grazing cattle on floodplain grasslands, and a land tenure policy consistent with the objectives of the evolving co-management system. Over the last year INCRA, the National Institute for Colonization and Agrarian Reform, has begun implementation of a comprehensive new land tenure policy that could resolve structural deficiencies in the existing co-management system and provide the basis for the ecosystem-based management of the Lower Amazon floodplain.

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Instituto Brasileiro de Meio-Ambiente e Recursos Renováveis


Instituto Nacional de Colonização e Reforma Agrária


Projeto de Assentamento Agro-Extrativista


Termo de Ajuste de Conduta


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The research on which this paper is based was funded by the World Wildlife Fund, DFID (Department for International Development, British Government), the HSBC-WWF Water for Life Program, European Community Tropical Forest Program, the CNPq (National Research Council) the Provarzea Program of the G-7 Pilot Program for the Conservation of Amazon Forest, and the GEF-UNEP-UNU Plec Project.

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Correspondence to David G. McGrath.

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McGrath, D.G., Cardoso, A., Almeida, O.T. et al. Constructing a policy and institutional framework for an ecosystem-based approach to managing the Lower Amazon floodplain. Environ Dev Sustain 10, 677–695 (2008).

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