Understanding the linkages between Amazonian forests and extractivist livelihoods is important ecologically, socially and economically. Here we put together the largest social and biogeographic dataset on two extractivist products such as rubber and Brazil nut from two hyperdominant trees (Bertholletia excelsa and Hevea spp). Though semistructured interviews and participatory focus groups we gathered data concerning extractivist activities in Resex Tapajós Arapiuns in the municipalities of Belterra and Santarém in Pará and in Municipalities of Sena Madureira and Xapuri in Acre, Brazil. The aim of this study is to model yields (productivity) and economic importance (annual rents) of rubber and Brazil nut in the Brazilian Amazon. Biophysical variables related to rubber and Brazil nut yields as well as market access (commercialization) were used to model those two Non Timber forest products (NTFP) market chains. Our results show that in higher productive areas of Brazil nut (hotspots) with yields ≈ 30 kg ha-1year-1, rents may reach up to US$ 46 ha-1year-1. Even in areas with yields above the mean (yields ≥ 3.53 kg ha-1year-1), and in the presence of governmental subsidies, rubber rents average US$ 0.56±0.7 ha-1year-1. Our work shows that for tackling the current socio-biodiversity dilemmas there is a need to better target policy making and a fast move to go beyond panaceas is required. This implies to go over adding value to products panacea for an area as vast as the Brazilian Amazon. Coupling biophysical and economic models allowed us to explore which environmental and governance improvements are needed to avoid deforestation and forest degradation in the Brazilian Amazon. There is therefore an urgent need to forge new livelihood options that complement in a synergistic way aimed at forest conservation. The rich body of knowledge gathered in the last 20 years by ONGs and governmental institutions need to be put into action to go beyond the participatory “diagnostic” of problems. We need to seek innovative solutions based on synergies between people and nature enhancing multifunctionality of extractivist landscapes.
1 Levis, C. et al. Persistent effects of pre-Columbian plant domestication on Amazonian forest composition. Science 355, 925-931, doi:10.1126/science.aal0157 (2017).
2 Jaramillo-Giraldo, C., Soares Filho, B., Carvalho Ribeiro, S. M. & Gonçalves, R. C. Is It Possible to Make Rubber Extraction Ecologically and Economically Viable in the Amazon? The Southern Acre and Chico Mendes Reserve Case Study. Ecological Economics 134, 186-197, doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2016.12.035 (2017).