Support information on how to adapt an activity according to ecological, social and climatic conditions (Brazil nut case)

The native communities of Boca Isiriwe, Masenawa and Puerto Azul decided to start using chestnut trees (Bertholletia excelsa) that existed within their territories despite having no prior experience in doing so commercially. The first requirement or condition that the EBA Amazonía project established was to exclude the possibility of contamination of the fruits with heavy metals. Samples of soil and fruits of the chestnut were taken. No significant residues could be found, in spite of the proximity of mining operations.

The project supported them as this activity suited well with the ecosystem approach assumed by the project.

A complete database of the occurrence and distribution of the species was created in order to model the changes that the species would suffer based on current and future climatic information. According to the modelling, chestnut will remain a species with a wide distribution throughout the area of the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve, with slight changes in its distribution. This way, the project responded to the local interest by providing the necessary information to guarantee a sustainable production process.

  • The EbA Amazonía project planned ahead for the provision of scientific information. The necessary resources and capacities to carry out the studies were available.
  • Good knowledge of the forest resources: although the communities did not use the chestnut before, they knew that it existed and where it grows.
  • Human vulnerability (to climate change or other factors of change) is neither static, nor one-dimensional, nor uni-directional. It is multifaceted and can change rapidly with decision-making.
  • On the other hand, analysing the vulnerability of a plant species (the chestnut in this case) is less complex and more reliable (less uncertainty) because it is only necessary to analyse biophysical variables and the variables of exposure to climate change or other factors of change.
  • Using the results of the analysis is very helpful for the local population to determine their areas of interest for the protection of the chestnut which in turn can be destined for other uses of low ecological impact.