Greener Apuí Project



In Depth Coverage

Greener Apuí Project: Reducing Deforestation and alleviating poverty by promoting the sustainable management of natural resources and payments for environmental services

At the heart of the Greener Apuí Project is the crucial need to combat deforestation. Unsustainable land use practices are adopted due to a lack of any viable economic alternatives, and these are driving the rapid destruction of forests seen in the region today. Our challenge is to provide the much needed alternatives.

Idesam has formed a partnership with the local government of Apuí, one of the most deforested municipalities in the State of Amazonas, to work towards solutions at the local level that could be replicated broadly in the region. The strategy of the Greener Apuí approach is based in the continuing and increasing involvement of local actors, from civic groups to local producers. The project has already benefitted from participation by the local government and local civilian, who have been involved from the outset, providing vital input into the formulation of the initiative.

The Greener Apuí Project aims to establish a model to control deforestation by combining sustainable economic activities, including sustainable forest management, reforestation, and increased efficiency in cattle ranching and agricultural production. At its first phase the project expects to prevent the deforestation of around 3,800 hectares within the next 25 years and restore another 1,500 hectares of forests up to 2013. This would generate a total reduction of approximately 2.5 million tCO2e by 2035, as well as building a sustainable future for Apuí's communities. In the long term, the goal is to expand the project’s activities to the entire rural area of the municipality, which comprises more than 500,000 ha of which 160,000 ha has already been deforested.

  • Link With Climate Change


    The Greener Apuí Project objectives are to mitigate climate change directly, through Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Sequestering Carbon through reforestation, and indirectly through reducing pressure over forests while implementing livestock intensification and adding value to forests through payment for ecosystem services.


  • Objectives


    • Reforest with native tree species in at least 1,500ha of pasturelands and degraded areas up to 2013.
    • Reduce deforestation of approximately 3,800ha by 2035.
    • Increase livestock ranching productivity in Apuí pasturelands.
    • Generate forest-based local expertise and jobs based in a municipal planning at landscape level toward sustainability of natural resources.



  • Work plan


    This project combines three components (REDD, Reforestation, and livestock intensification). The reforestation component requires that all areas of participants to be reforested georeferenced. Then, as participants provide their information and documents, we conduct the mapping of each area. This mapping includes land-use characteristics such as slope, vegetation cover, soil quality and location (inside areas of permanent preservation, legal reserve, etc.). Thus, the data collection is essential to plan the reforestation activity. In parallel, we are establishing partnerships to create a network to exchange native seeds. The members of this network will provide seeds to nurseries to produce seedlings that will be used in the reforestation areas.


    The livestock intensification component is in phase of testing. Idesam is establishing an experiment of rotational pasture management with the objectives of assessing how much the carrying capacity of pasture can be enhanced, i.e., how many kilograms it yields more and if it is a system more profitable than current low density grazing system used, that demands large areas of forest to be converted into pastureland. Then, we will start the implementation of this component depending on the results of the experiment.


    The REDD component needs only monitoring, as we have developed all the steps required to this project, including baseline projections, carbon stock change estimates, permanence and so on. The satellite imagery will be used to monitor deforestation combined with ground-truth data. At a later stage, some carbon inventories will be carried out.


    Our Project will serve as a springboard for future social and productive development in the Apuí region, increasing livestock productivity and providing viable economic alternatives. The funding model for the project will include generating Verified Emission Reductions to be sold in the voluntary carbon market.


    The strategy of the Greener Apuí approach is based in continuing and increasing the involvement of local actors, from civic groups to local producers. The project has already benefitted from participation of the local government and support from the local association of small-holder farmers, who have been involved from the outset, providing vital input into the formulation of the initiative. In creating a Greener Apuí we will generate new economic opportunities; those based on conserving forests, not destroying them.

  • Schedule


    -          Livestock Intensification Experiment implemented by September 2010.

    -          mapping and georeferencing of areas to be reforested completed by October 2010.

    -          Land Cover Benchmark Map by October 2010.

    -          Structuring of a Native Seeds Network by September 2010.

    -          Final Project Proposal and Area calculations by December 2010.

    -          Deforestation Monitoring in operation by December 2010.

    -          Seed collection starting by October 2010.

    -          Seedlings production starting by March 2011.

    -          Developing plan of planting according to site-specific biophysical conditions by June 2011

    -          Feasibility study of livestock intensification finished by September 2011.

    -          Planting and technical assistance starting at October 2011.

  • Technical and Scientific Approach & Methods Proposed


    We plan to use a wide array of methods and approaches to achieve the objectives we pursue. First, to improve the understanding of land use dynamics in the Amazon. The second is to propose new or alternatives ways of generating income according to practices based on sustainability. The last but not the least, to compare different methods and tools available, assessing their suitability to the objectives proposed. Below follows some information related to the three components of this project.

    REDD component: Idesam has expertise in forest inventories and REDD projects and initiatives, and has been accompanying and contributing to develop REDD policies and mechanisms in Brazil and abroad. We will use a historical baseline for deforestation with calculation estimates for carbon stock changes. The most important part is monitoring. Although Brazil has one of the best deforestation monitoring program in the world, the scale of this project needs high resolution satellite data to area calculations and land cover change information.

    Reforestation component: Although forestry in the Amazon is still incipient, Idesam team has gathered information on the experiments visited throughout Brazilian Amazon. An extensive research on the literature available and the information collected on the sites in the past 3 years, about the ecological and biological requirements of specific native species and systems, Idesam was able to design a model with a lower risk of being unsuccessful. However, site specific characteristics make the enterprise uncertain. Idesam plans to collect detailed information of the sites to be reforested and give full technical assistance to implementation and monitoring of the planting sites, considering agro-forestry and permaculture knowledge, as well as traditional knowledge.

    Experiment of Livestock intensification component: Idesam made a partnership with the University of Sao Paulo/ESALQ that will set up the experiment and train the technicians on data collection. All information on feasibility and avoided deforestation and carbon stock changes will be carried out by Idesam. Methods can be separated into three groups: (i) items related to the farm properties; (ii)- assessment of the productivity (beef kg/ha/year) in different treatments such as implementation costs and maintenance; (iii)- assessment of the beef regional market opportunities tied with REDD and reforestation activities as well as other environmental services other than carbon storage.

    Moreover, Idesam’s interests in using high spatial resolution satellite imagery rely on better combining satellite imagery data and social and land use survey at micro-scales rather than broader scales. Working at the household level we can study human–environment interactions from a cultural ecological perspective that is not possible when working at aggregated scales (i.e. state or municipal datasets), which tend to simplify the proximate causes of land use dynamics. This information is required when one wants to understand the likely future course and rates of deforestation.

  • Results


    Expected results are:
    • Reforestation of 1,500ha with native tree species (app 500k tCO2)
    • Avoid deforestation of around 3,800ha (app. 2MM tCO2)
    • Promote forest conservation in approximately 17,000 ha.
    • Job opportunities created by a demand for permanent project staff and other technical positions.
    • Increased livestock productivity, resulting in increased income generation for local farmers.
    • Land-use and deforestation monitoring system.

  • Deliverables


    • Technical Assistance in reforestation and livestock sites.
    • Establishment of a seed network.
    • Implementation of a nursery for seedling production.
    • Creation of a seed network through which registered producers can exchange native seeds, ultimately introducing a new market and generating income for seed producers.
    • An increased demand for skilled labor in the agricultural sector, including agro-silvopastoral specialists and rotational grazing management experts.
    • Establishment of a land use and deforestation monitoring system uploaded in the Idesam’s website to assure transparency.
    • Produce scientific publications on Satellite Imagery and Land-use behavior.
    • Produce scientific publications on experience of project implementation and application of carbon-based mechanisms.

  • Use of Satellite Imagery and GIS Solutions


    Based on a benchmark map of land cover of high-resolution (scale 1:25,000), we plan to monitor land-use changes using time-series satellite imagery. We will apply land cover classification methods such as CLASlite v.2.3; SAD 3.0 and other software for land cover classification such as in ArcGIS, ENVI, ERDAS, etc.

    We are not proposing any new solution. However, we aim to compare the available different methods conducting extensive field work validation to generate results of high quality and information on pros and cons of different software packages for a given specific use.

  • Local Actions


    • Planting of around 2 million seedlings of native tree species.
    • Capacity building in forestry and livestock intensification activities.
    • Generation and marketing of timber and non-timber products derived through reforestation activities.
    • Opportunities for the establishment of non-timber forest product industries, including the production of food, artisan crafts and energy generation.
    • Promotion and strengthening of the trade in legal timber within the local timber market.

  • Miscellaneous information / interesting details on project


    The protection and restoration of Apuí’s rainforests will ensure enormous environmental benefits, including the maintenance of local and regional hydrological systems, soil conservation and biodiversity preservation.

    In creating a Greener Apuí we will generate new economic opportunities: those based on conserving forests, not destroying them. For instance, the creation of a seed network through which registered producers can exchange native seeds, ultimately introducing a new market and generating income for seed producers; generation and marketing of timber and non-timber products derived through reforestation activities, among others.

    The funding model for the project will be based on generating voluntary emissions reductions (VER’s) for trading in the voluntary carbon market. Activities will include reforestation, REDD+ and creating a more efficient livestock industry. All of these activities ensure environmental benefits to the local ecosystem and are funded through mechanisms for ‘Payment for Ecosystem Services.’

    Our project aims to act as a trigger for the construction of a municipality-wide plan for sustainable development to expand to up to 500,000 hectares in Apuí. Following the successful implementation of our pilot project, it will be possible to replicate its success in other municipalities, not only in Brazil but in other Amazonian countries as well.

  • Region Name

    Apuí,Southeastern Amazonas State, Transamazon Highway, Brazil
  • Partners involved in project

    Avina Foundation, The Katoomba Ecosystem Services Incubator/Forest Trends, University of Sao Paulo - ESALQ, and Apuí City Hall.