The Amazon Várzea pp 233-238
Introduction: Strategies for Social and Environmental Conservation in Conservation Units
Two groups of considerations are essential for choosing strategies for conservation: linking conservation to the interests of local peoples, and linking conservation to core national and global interests. This section addresses the question of conservation strategies in conservation units by presenting several examples in specific areas that are also parts of a wider effort towards formulation of strategies for social and environmental conservation in Brazilian Amazonia. Brazil’s conservation units are grouped into two categories: “sustainable use” and “integral protection”. At present, opportunities are more evident for the former rather than the latter. However, one must be constantly aware that supposedly “sustainable” activities are not always sustainable nor are they invariably environmentally benign. There must be constant reinforcement of awareness among local people who receive payments for environmental services that it is their role as environmental guardians that is the reason for the support they receive. There has been notable progress over the last few years in rating conservation units and in organizing civil society so that they act as a force for conservation. However, these rest on a shaky foundation since political considerations may reverse this progress. Several recent instances illustrate the fragile nature of environmental advances and indicate the need for a concerted effort to elevate the environment in decision-making in Brazil.