NPS and Forest Service Collaborate in Supporting Brazil Park Planning

group on walking path above water area and trees
There’s power in collaboration! Managing a park is a balancing act and getting the formula just right to preserve, educate, and inspire outdoor recreation can be difficult. To try and get it right, the Brazilian government reached out to the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), who in turn partnered with the National Park Service (NPS) to help develop an interdisciplinary team that would work together to design a conservation unit management plan pilot for not only the Sao Joaquim National Park in southern Brazil, but also for the Soure Marine Extractive Reserve located in the Amazon region. This partnership was made possible through an interagency agreement with the USFS supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Government of Brazil. The goal is to improve protection of natural resources and biodiversity in protected areas by local, traditional, and indigenous communities, government agencies and local organizations.

The park is about 120,000 acres and the reserve is about 73,000 acres in size. Sao Joaquim has limited public accessibility only available through permits while Soure Marine Extractive Reserve has about 1,400 people in the reserve in twelve communities. In total, Brazil has about 350 parks and reserves, many of which are not accessible to the public because they require a management plan and most haven’t been developed yet.
group working maps on the floor
This effort focused on hosting a 5-day workshop in each location to figure out a new, more streamlined planning approach that will not only safeguard these treasures, but better allow visitors to enjoy and experience the natural wonders the country offers. USFS and NPS worked with local communities in order to build a new management plan framework that can be adapted to different Brazilian parks and reserves. Workshop attendees consisted of specialists with varying degrees of expertise working in other parks, acting as guides, teaching at universities, community members as well as park planners. These 40 eager workshop attendees poured out their ideas and experience, ultimately creating a sustainable and adaptable management plan that is being piloted at the park and reserve
person in water helping navigate small boat through narrow area heavy with trees
“The Park Service was able to learn a great deal from this experience,” said Chris Church, National Park Service DSC Acting Planning Division Chief. “Especially around how the Brazilian government approaches management zoning and how we might better streamline our own efforts.”

The team concluded its work with one last trip to the northern side of Brazil nestled along the Amazon near Belem. Here you’ll find Soure Marine Extractive Reserve a primary source of income for many local community members. The team participated in another workshop helping the Chico Mendes Institute for Biological Diversity (ICMBio) develop a management plan addressing how they might balance sustainable harvesting while enhancing tourism. NPS introduced geographic information system (GIS) technology to help workshop participants map important resources and uses as well as establish management zones for the reserve.
staff riding on water buffaloes
These pilot projects illustrate the NPS and USFS commitment to engage a diverse audience and advance the stewardship of resources and visitor experience even outside of our traditional borders.

Last updated: November 13, 2017