Case II Porto de Moz Where PAR Succeeded

Porto de Moz is a district with a more traditional population than Uruara. It is located along one of the main rivers and many inhabitants have lived there for generations. The main activity until the 1960s was rubber tapping, Brazil nut collecting, and fishing. By the 1990s, however, logging represented approximately 60% of the total community income. In 1995, LAET was approached by the leaders of the Porto de Moz district for assistance in organizing a seminar on the future of wood and fish in their district. Based on their previous experience in Uruara, the researchers adopted a different strategy for participatory planning. Rather than inviting all the local stakeholders at the beginning, priority would be given to a direct dialogue with the local rural people's organizations, since these were the people who most needed empowerment.

Activity began with a rapid natural resource appraisal. The research team quickly established a picture of the district's social, economic, and ecological situation. Major themes were (1) that large quantities of trees were harvested and exported outside of the district, and (2) that returns to the district were low compared to returns that could be obtained for sawed lumber. It was estimated that all nearby forests would be exhausted within 10-15 years if noth ing was done to curb indiscriminant logging. Community representatives made various statements about the links between forest exploitation and reduced abundance of fish. Fishing was becoming increasingly difficult due to severe competition from commercial fishing boats.

After the seminar, a committee was formed to develop a natural resources management program. Within 2 years, the effort had the following results:

• There was a rapid spread of community rules restricting fishing in the rivers that effectively gained control of commercial fishing in the area.

• Community forest reserves were planned and demarcated.

• A program of environmental awareness was organized.

• Records were obtained from the Public Land Office when the local representative was thought to be corrupt.

One of the reasons that PAR was more successful in Porto de Moz than in Uruará was that the local communities were more structured and the people's link with their land was stronger, since many had lived there for several generations. Another important aspect of the experience was that some of the results were obtained through direct contacts of the local organization with the national administration. This result confirmed the thesis (Sawyer 1990) that natural resource management in the Amazon can be better obtained through direct cooperation of the local organizations with national administrations, thus bypassing the local elite, who are likely to block all initiatives that go against their immediate economic interests.

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