The award-winning study addresses the importance of a community-based conservation model as one of the most efficient solutions for the ecological crises that humanity is facing in tropical countries.
By Clara Machado
The Vice President of Instituto Juruá and Professor at the University of East Anglia, Dr. Carlos Peres received, in Switzerland, the award for the first edition of Frontiers Planet Prize, which recognized the three best scientific articles in the environmental field of the last three years worldwide.
The award ceremony occurred on April 27th, in Montreux, Switzerland, hosted by the Frontiers Research Foundation, an international nonprofit organization that created one of the largest science awards of the world with the intention of mobilizing the scientific community to search for global solutions for crucial situations we are facing, such as climate change , the loss of biodiversity and the land and water use systems.
Moved by the Covid-19 pandemic situation, which has motivated a huge mobilization of scientists towards a common goal, the ambition of Frontiers Planet Prize is to directly address the current environmental crisis, by mobilizing a maximum of committed scientists to conduct research to solve the problems of ecological crisis. The nomination for the award was made by important universities and funding agencies in different countries around the world. The jury of 100 renowned scientists in the sustainability field, first voted in the National Champions of each country and then, among them, in three International Championships.
Thus, Professor Dr. Carlos Peres received both the UK national award, and the international award, with the article entitled “Sustainable-use protected areas catalyze enhanced livelihoods in rural Amazonia“, made in partnership with João Campos-Silva, Carlos Peres, Joseph Hawes, Torbjørn Haugaasen, Carolina Freitas, Richard Ladle e Priscila Lopes, all the associated researchers of Instituto Juruá.
The award-winning study compares the quality of life of people who live inside and outside the conservation units of the Juruá river, considering factors such as family income, desire to stay in rural areas, and access to digital communication services, basic education, electricity, local commerce, boats to commercialization of production, among others. The result highlights the importance of sustainable use of protected areas for conservation of biodiversity and socio-economics.
João Campos-Silva, the first author of the study and president of Instituto Juruá, was present at the award ceremony and said “for a long time, the science of conservation had a colonial and exclusionary perspective, where the local communities were removed from their territories they were seen as part of the problem. In contrast to this thinking, this article shows that it is these people who are ensuring a more prosperous and conserved Amazon while improving their quality of life, and, therefore, representing the solution for the Amazon”.
The objective of conservation science based on the “win-win” paradigm is to demonstrate that it is possible to implement community-based initiatives that simultaneously protect biodiversity and improve the quality of life of the communities that lead these actions in multiple dimensions, from income and infrastructure to culture and education. In the Juruá river region, for instance, various grassroot organizations, such as ASPROC, AMARU, ASMAMJ, and AMECSARA are aligned with governmental agencies such as the Secretary of Environment of the State of Amazon (SEMA/DEMUC) and ICMBio, private sector, NGOs, and universities, to lead the process of local governance that generate impressive results for conservation and local well-being.
For Dr. Carlos Peres, who is a co-founder of Instituto Juruá, the award strengthens one of the organization’s most important areas of work. “Receiving this award is fantastic because it endorses the academic quality of what we are doing, as well as all the award criteria were based on the quality of science, which is one of the pillars of our work”, adds the Vice President of Instituto Juruá.