April 14, 2020

Building Climate Resiliency in the Amazon

Juruti Agroforestry Marliane
Marliane das Chagas Soares
Photo credit: Asteroide

In Juruti, Brazil, an innovative agroforestry program supported by Alcoa Foundation is building resilience to climate change while providing additional income sources to the region’s citizens, especially women.

It is increasingly challenging for many of Juruti’s smallholder farmers and rural producers to grow food due to soil degradation, which has resulted from slash and burn agriculture. Combined with a tendency to plant only a few types of crops, the region is facing increased vulnerability in food security and to the impacts of climate change. In addition, women often have been excluded from key decisions that affect the allocation and use of natural resources.

The Climate Smart Agroforestry Program administered by WRI Brasil is providing farmers and producers with training and on-the-ground assistance on agroforestry practices that build resilience to climate change. These include introducing native trees and crops, such as the Tonka bean and Brazil nut, that contribute to food security, enhance environmental sustainability and diversity, and generate income.

At the end of 2019, there was a combined 10 hectares (25 acres) of agroforestry systems planted in seven Juruti communities. Women owned 14 of the 22 sites.

“I learned so many things, but the most relevant one was to produce without degrading the soil,” said Marliane das Chagas Soares. “My family and I were willing to do something different, and the project was the perfect match. Despite the difficulties, there is an opportunity to dream and to work. Seeing the results of our efforts is very satisfying.”