The Terena community, an indigenous group found on the Arariba reservation in Brazil, is taking steps towards a greener future. Each morning 20 out of the 500-member community congregate under an improvised shed to peel and wash manioc, a fruit grown on their reservation. They hope that, by selling manioc, they can use the extra income to fund their agroforestry projects. Their end goal is to be able to sustain a rubber tree forest. Currently the Terena community has 2,500 rubber seedlings and hope, in seven years time, to begin harvesting rubber.
This project idea for a green future comes directly from the Terena community. It is one of many similar projects taking place in indigenous groups across Brazil. These projects are run by the Dedicated Grant Mechanism for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (DGM). The DGM will invest $6.5 million in Brazil over a 5-year period. Their goals are to empower indigenous people and strengthen their institutions as well as to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
The Terena community is approaching reforestation through the idea of agroforestry. When the rubber tree forest is fully grown, the Terena community plans on planting other crops such as manioc and other produce. This is important for the reversal of deforestation because it uses the land to the best of its ability.
“Indians want to have it all right away, they don’t like to wait,” said the Ekerua settlement’s chief, Jazone de Camilo. “But the way I see it, it’s like our savings account. It’s something that will be a good income source many years from now.”
– Catherine Ulrich