Case I Uruara Where PAR Failed The Problem

The selective logging of mahogany and cedar carried out in the 1970s resulted in the opening of roads that extended 100 km or more from the village of Uruara. These roads facilitated access to remote forests that were quickly occupied by families who cleared the area for crops or pastures. Many socioeconomic problems arose from the disorderly occupation of opened forest. Maintenance of the dirt roads was difficult. Neither the municipal government nor the loggers wanted to take responsibility. Due to the resultant high costs of transporting products, profits for farmers who lived along these feeder roads were very low. In addition, access to social services such as schools and medical clinics was also severely limited. Isolation made it difficult for the community associations to meet regularly. Added to these was the problem of fire in areas that have been recently logged.

Another important problem in the region was the loggers' invasion of indigenous peoples' reserves. Contacts with the "white men" frequently resulted in destruction of the indigenous tribes, especially due to alcoholism. Indigenous people gained cash by selling trees, often at prices lower than those of fered to farmers. Selective extraction also caused significant impact on game, which is an important food source for the indigenous tribes.

A conference of stakeholders on the forestry issues was held in March 1995 at Uruará. The most important proposals that emerged were:

• The creation of a natural reserve and a pilot municipal forest, to be managed sustainably by the community.

• The enhancement of the value of wood by creating cabinet-making workshops.

• Sale of trees at a value based on their volume, not at a price bargained for by the logging companies with individual farmers.

The idea of creating a natural reserve and municipal forest was supported by the logging companies, even though these proposals were not favorable for them. Perhaps they believed that the decision was just a façade and would never be truly implemented, or perhaps they thought that by agreeing to the idea, they could more easily open a route to a river port in the north of the municipality. In any case, 2 years later, nothing had happened with regard to a municipal forest and the logging companies had opened their route to the north, even though they had no public support for the project.

There was initial enthusiasm among the farmers for processing wood, not only for cabinets, but also for their own houses and furniture. The problem was that sawing logs with a medium-sized mill and then selling the boards would give rise to problems such as financial control, marketing, and other management problems. Such an enterprise would require an industrial structure which is difficult to establish and maintain. As a consequence, the project was put on hold. Meanwhile, consultants from the Brazilian government recommended that a project for enhancing the value of wood should be given to a national agency, "Fundaçâo para o Desenvolvimento do Municipio de Uruará" (FUNDASUR). Once the farmers learned of this recommendation they dropped all interest in the PAR approach. The FUNDASUR initiative was sponsored in part by an international bank and held much higher promise for bigger and newer equipment than the PAR program. The FUNDASUR project, however, was strictly top down, and all decisions were made by this agency.

The issue of selling price for logs also did not reach a satisfactory conclusion. When the logging companies bargained with each settler individually they risked not being able to purchase the wood from certain lots, even though they had to open roads throughout the territory. Farmers who refused to sell when the roads were opened later benefited by selling their trees at a higher price to other logging companies who had not paid anything for opening the roads.

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