• Visiting the Santa Maria Community

    During her most recent trip to the Trocano Araretama REDD+ Project, CGV’s Laine Tavares travelled to many communities found within the 1.3 million ha area that the project covers. These on-the-ground visits are undertaken for monitoring purposes and allow the continuous development of the project.

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    The Santa Maria Community in the region known as Carapanatuba.

    Today we will discuss the Santa Maria Community, which is located on the Upper Madeira River. Located 48 km from the seat of the municipality of Borba, the community can be easily visited by seaplane or boat.

    In the Carapanatuba region, Santa Maria has approximately 12 families and a sum total of 60 inhabitants. The main source of income and employment is based around farming and fishing, with agricultural activities only being practised during the drought period of the Madeira River, which runs from early June to mid-November.

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    Among the main products grown in Santa Maria are onions, parsley, lettuce, cilantro and cabbage. The Trocano Araretama Project is discussing the formation of a partnership with the Institute of Agricultural Development and Sustainable Forest of the Amazonas (IDAM) to improve the agricultural techniques already used by the residents of Santa Maria, and to create elevated vegetable gardens for growing vegetables during the rainy season. By elevating the gardens, they will be safe from rising water levels.

    The Santa Maria Community is greatly impacted during the rainy season (December to May) as it is located in a lowland region. The area is known to become temporarily flooded due to the increased frequency of rain, causing the river level to rise considerably.

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    Fruit trees destroyed by floods. Where the water level reached can still be seen on the house to the right of the photo.

    When the flood period begins, residents whose houses are flooded are forced to abandon them in search of a safer place. They usually move to higher ground on the outskirts of the community or migrate towards the seat of the municipality, where they are housed in schools.

    Residents that decide to stay in their homes, although flooded, build a temporary wooden floor above the river’s water level. This practice is known in the region as “maromba” and is one of the solutions found by the population in order to avoid contact with the water and raise their furniture and belongings.

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    A house flooded by the last overflow of the Madeira River. The water brings dirt and silt with it, which decreases the distance between the houses and the ground. Therefore, when the river returns to normal levels, residents have to disassemble the structures of their houses and, by reusing wood, build them higher.

    The flood also brings waste residue with it from other parts of the rainforest, making the process of filtering the river water for consumption very difficult. Therefore, the community was chosen by the Trocano Araretama Project for a water filtration pilot project with the use of LifeStraw family filters, which will facilitate the purification process and improve the population’s health.

    The last time the Madeira River overflowed, it reached a record height and hit several communities of Borba very hard, including Santa Maria. The Trocano Araretama Project made a donation to the Municipality of Borba to assist them in their work for the families displaced by the flood, which helped them to provide food, drink, clothing, cleaning materials and medicines.

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    Celestial Green Ventures

    Celestial Green Ventures (CGV) develops and implements REDD+ conservation projects, which focus on protecting regions at risk of deforestation and improving the local communities, in the Brazilian Amazon region.
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