Book of Abstracts
11th IFOAM Scientific Conference
11-15 August 1996, Copenhagen, Denmark
AS-PTA, Rio de Janeiro, RJ 20091-020, Brazil
The traditional knowledge of local people includes the management of natural forests as a rule, but it is not often very sustainable management. In order to recommend changes to traditional management practices which can be readily adopted by local people, it is necessary to assess the current management level of sustainability, and the level of forest degradation. An inventory has been made in a traditional community in southern Brazil by the name of Faxinal Marmeleiro, where a complex social structure determines the common use of forested areas as pasture land, despite the fact that land tenure is individual. This means that changes in management must be a collective decision requiring strong arguments and data. Local people know that the forest's carrying capacity is decreasing, as well as its biodiversity, but there is no study and no data about these traditional systems.
Three main techniques gathered from two different sources (academic and rapid appraisal technologies) were applied in making the inventory to assess the species, their interactions through the natural succession, natural regeneration, the different management applied to the vegetation, and other relevant aspects to evaluate the level of degradation. Some secondary techniques were also created by the staff.
The assessment came up with 10 different types of vegetation, most of which presented old vegetation with very low natural regeneration, constituting a situation of significant forest degradation. The results obtained through visual techniques employed and created have facilitated the presentation of the data to the farmers and have led to a participatory formulation of proposals to modify the management towards sustainability, which are still under discussion with the community.