BRAZIL – In the U.S., elk, grouse, and turkeys are of particular interest to our public this time of year and are carefully managed to protect habitat and maintain populations. In Brazil, capivara, forest fowl and turtles are some of the priority species managed on protected lands. At the end of October, two Forest Service employees joined professional counterparts to lead a seminar in support of the development of a planning framework to qualify and evaluate the sustainability of natural resource use in Brazil. Jim Smalls, Assistant Director for NEPA in the WO Ecosystem Management Coordination Staff, and Tera Little, Forest Planner on the Boise National Forest, led the seminar with two members from the Denver Service Center of the National Park Service. Brazil’s agency that manages all of the country’s federal parks and national forests, the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation, hosted the team at its national training center in Sao Paulo state.
The Forest Service presented an overview of the agency’s planning framework and components of land management plans. Much of the discussion focused on the multiple-use mission of the agency and engagement with stakeholders in the management of the national forests. Discussion on the three pillars of sustainability: ecological, sociocultural and economic were of particular interest to the ICMBio participants. NPS presented a planning process called the Resource Stewardship Strategy, which has been developed to help NPS units develop more flexible management plans.
The simplicity and flexibility of the Forest Service and NPS examples are appealing to ICMBio as the Brazilian agency manages for goals that range from preservation to sustainable extraction; ICMBio lands are comparable in acreage to Forest Service lands, but with just 3,000 employees compared to ~30,000 in the Forest Service. ICMBio is a relatively young agency (established just over a decade ago) and the enthusiasm, knowledge, and passion displayed by the agency’s employees was an inspiration to the visiting Americans.
The Forest Service provides technical assistance and training in Brazil with the support the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Partnership for the Conservation of Amazon Biodiversity. This seminar was an important milestone in ongoing collaboration to improve federal and state protected area management and improve livelihood alternatives linked to biodiversity conservation for residents in and around various protected areas.