Over the past 3 decades, there have been important advances in addressing key drivers of Amazon deforestation. Natural areas have been set aside for protection and rights devolved to local communities for land and resources, while technologically, powerful new tools monitor land use and land cover change in real time at multiple scales, as well as model and predict ongoing and future change. Yet the underlying dynamic of Amazon frontier expansion and natural resource degradation continues: despite several years of declining rates, deforestation and land grabbing persist and have even expanded, alongside ambitious infrastructural projects, supported by economic and political forces that undermine conservation and development advances.
This sobering juxtaposition between accomplishments and persistent threats calls into question the current paradigm of conservation and sustainable development in the Amazon. Can “more of the same” and continuous gradual refinement of our tools and strategies effectively address these challenges?
The UF Amazon Workshop on Tools and Strategies for Conservation and Development in the Amazon provides an opportunity to step out of our comfort zones by acknowledging the limitations of current approaches and thinking innovatively about how to move beyond them. Can we find new ways of working, and new ways of working together? Can we develop a new paradigm of conservation action that addresses the conflicting visions and underlying power imbalances among stakeholders?
While there is great potential to create sustainable local approaches to conservation and development, the driving forces that influence these systems come from higher scales.
How can local communities be empowered to address these large-scale forces? Can we engage local populations to create a framework for continuous monitoring of the social, economic and environmental impacts of so-called development initiatives? How can we take a systemic approach to the Amazon as a multi-scalar socioecological system, building connections and synergies between efforts at the local and macro scales? How can we use different kinds of information as tools for governance?
With UF leadership, participants will collaborate before, during, and after the workshop to produce a comprehensive report that analyzes lessons learned from a wide range of experiences and contexts; captures insights and elements of new paradigms and approaches; and charts promising ways forward to work collaboratively to address persistent challenges. The report will include the following sections:
Tools and Strategies to Address Drivers
Lessons Learned from Achievements and Challenges in the Implementation of Specific Conservation Tools and Strategies
Elements of a New Paradigm
In addition, several appendices will include pre-workshop prepared presentations, as well as posters presented at the workshop.