In an effort to help offset the environmental impact generated by the conference, the SER2017 Organizing Committee will invest in an ecological restoration project in the host region. This will provide an opportunity to not only compensate for some of the carbon emissions we collectively generate, but also contribute to wider ecological and social benefits. You, the conference delegates, will decide which project receives our support!
We held an open call for applications in July to identify projects in Brazil and elsewhere in South America that were interested in partnering with us under the Offsets Program. These projects had to be ongoing; they had to qualify as ecological restoration; they had to be located in South America; and they had to be free of any direct connection with members of our Organizing Committee.
We received a total of 14 applications, which were reviewed by members of the Organizing Committee via a formal selection process to produce a list of three finalists. Summaries of these three finalists are given below. We will ask you, the delegates, to vote on which one of them receives a donation on behalf of the conference. The winner will be announced during the closing ceremony.
If you haven’t already made a contribution to the Offsets Program, we highly encourage you to do so. You can contribute as much or as little as you choose, but we hope you will consider at least a small donation to help mitigate the impact of your travel. Donations can be made at the registration desk.
In addition to these individual donations, the SER2017 Organizing Committee will make a base contribution on behalf of the entire delegation to help offset our collective impact at the conference.
Which of our project finalists will get your vote?
The Y Ikatu Xingu, or “Save the Good Water of Xingu”, campaign has been working since 2006 to restore riparian forests in the headwaters of the Xingu River Basin, in Brazil’s Mato Grosso state. Situated in a transitional zone between the Amazon and Cerrado biomes, the Xingu Basin is home to 24 distinct indigenous groups who depend on the river for their livelihood and well-being. Land conversion for soy and beef production has led to vast deforestation in the region and a decline in the health of the river due to silting and pollution, which threatens the survival of these surrounding communities. Y Ikatu Xingu, led by Brazilian NGO Instituto Socioambiental (ISA), seeks to protect and restore the watershed by facilitating the recovery of degraded riparian forests in the Xingu headwaters through mechanized direct seeding of native species, sourced from the Xingu Seed Network Association. The Xingu Seed Network is comprised of local households that collect and process seed in what has grown into a commercial-scale operation generating significant income for community members and helping to improve local livelihoods. Since 2006, the Xingu Campaign has contributed to the restoration of 5,000ha of riparian areas and has generated a total of approximately one million US dollars for some 450 households through the Xingu Seed Network. Restoration activities in the basin are ongoing.
Led by the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio), this seven-year project is focused on restoring grasslands and savannas of Brazil’s Cerrado biome within Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park in Goiás state. Ongoing since 2012, the project has restored 150ha within the park using a direct seeding method whereby 80 species of native grasses, shrubs and trees have been reintroduced in degraded areas, with survival rates above 70% in most cases after four years of monitoring. The project has sought to actively involve local community members and has built a network of more than 60 families that supply native seeds for the restoration effort. Over the last five years, this network has provided 25 tons of seed, generating an economic benefit of some R$170,000 for these producers. The project also trains and employs local community members to conduct the actual restoration work. This contribution to local livelihoods, and boost to the local economy, in turn helps reduce some of the drive to clear new areas of Cerrado for subsistence farming and ranching activities. In addition to restoring degraded areas within the park, an important aim of the project is to develop cost-effective techniques that are transferable to restoration efforts at other sites. Project leaders are currently focused on disseminating their method to rural producers and other ecological restoration practitioners, and are working with the seed network to provide seeds for the wider market.
The Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado (AMLD) is dedicated to the protection and recovery of habitat for Brazil’s endemic golden lion tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia) in the São João River watershed of Rio de Janeiro state. The São João Basin contains large remnants of Atlantic Forest (Mata Atlântica), particularly in upland areas, as well as important forest fragments in lower-lying portions of the watershed. The creation of forest corridors to connect these fragments and allow movement of species across the landscape is a core strategy of AMLD’s work. As part of these efforts, AMLD engages with private landowners in the region to build support for their activities and encourage conservation and restoration measures on neighboring properties. Since its founding in 1997, AMLD has successfully restored approximately 300ha of forest, including 73ha of forest corridors and 62ha of riparian forest. A total of 22 corridors have thus far been established, effectively connecting an area of 16,161ha of forest habitat for the benefit of the golden lion tamarin and many other species. AMLD’s work has also benefited local communities by improving the quantity and quality of water resources in the basin; employing local labor and creating job opportunities; providing training and capacity development for locally employed technicians; and establishing a network of native plant nurseries run by local families.