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This post is also available in (Post também disponível em): Português (Portuguese (Brazil))

Victória Sales – From Cenarium Magazine

This Sunday, the 21st, the International Day of Forests and Trees is celebrated. Therefore, to emphasize the importance of the theme and also to bring out the protagonism of female leaders working in Environmental Conservation Units, CENARIUM MAGAZINE interviewed women from the Amazon region, who make the forest a resource of resistance and existence to preserve the environment.

For the coordinator of the Yara Amazonas women’s group, Elisangêla Ezequiel Borges, the forest has a very important meaning in the Puranga Conquista Sustainable Development Reserve (RDS), located on the left bank of the Lower Rio Negro, in Amazonas.

Natural resources are extracted from nature to generate sustainable income, as Elisângela details. “The forest for me is my home. I live in the middle of the forests and it is through it that many people, like me, manage to get their livelihood and income”, explained the leader.

As for the resident of RDS and also a member of the “Yaras” group, Renata Dieb, the meaning of the forest refers to life, the home of various species, and human food. “The forest itself helps us in the way of subsistence of the population, mainly for those who live from the harvest of seeds and fruits. Most rural and riverside communities live from the forest and everything that is extracted from it, such as oils, fruits and wood”, said Renata.

Açaí is one of the main sources of income for women in the RDS. (Reproduction)

Difficulties

Renata also pointed out that the production flow is a great difficulty faced to sell the products. “The only way we have is to do it by the river and often, natural factors such as the storm or the very agitated river end up hindering transportation. For this reason, most prefer to sell their products in their own locality”, explained.

Elisangêla Borges took the opportunity to explain more about this difficulty. “Our products have a market. However, because they are natural products, they have an extensive market. Our biggest difficulty is a credit line so that we can increase production. And, being a group of women, we still need to face some prejudices in the production process of these products”, stressed the coordinator.

Yara Amazonas

Renata points out that, initially, the Jatobá group was created, to encourage the production of products such as shampoos, conditioners, and soaps. “We also built handicrafts from extractive activities. From this group, then, Yara Amazonas emerged, which also produces the same things, but which now has a fundamental role in the RDS and has been doing a great job in fighting Covid-19”, added Renata.

According to the group’s coordinator, the Yara Amazonas group is a group of producers that make products extracted from the forest such as copaiba oil and andiroba oil. “We are currently a group of eight women who are directly benefited and more than 40 women benefited indirectly. Also, before the pandemic, it was possible to take a minimum wage, but today we can only guarantee half a salary”, said Elisangêla.

Importance

Forests and trees are extremely important for the environment and also for the country’s economy. From them, it is possible to extract all raw material, sustainably, for buildings, food, and mainly, inputs for the production of medicines.

According to the biologist and environmentalist, José Narbaes, the forests and trees are responsible for emitting the oxygen we breathe and for generating numerous fruits that feed us, in addition to being one of the rare natural sources of resources for life. “Among other benefits, we can mention the improvement in the quality of life, the supply of natural resources, such as wood resources, medicinal plants, and products intended for our food; they are sources of genetic resources and places for research, tourism, and recreation”, he said.

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