Forests, Fields, and Pastures: Unequal Access to Brazil Nuts and Livelihood Strategies in an Extractive Reserve, Brazilian Amazon
The Cazumbá–Iracema Extractive Reserve (CIER)—History, Governance Structure and Settlement Pattern
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Study Site
2.2. Data Collection
2.3. Data Analysis
3.1. Harvesting and Differential Access to Brazil Nuts
3.1.1. Direct (De Jure) Access
3.1.2. Indirect (De Facto) Access
3.1.3. Differences in Access between Communities
3.2. Comparison of Livelihood Profiles in the CIER
“We don’t have Brazil nuts. And the money we make from Brazil nuts is little, tiny. And it’s only once a year. So, the problem with Brazil nuts is this: we don’t have Brazil nuts.”(Authorised user from community A)
“The Brazil nut is not everywhere. Here in this area, we have little, little. In some places there is none. Here on my land, there are only four Brazil nut trees. I use them only for my own consumption.”(Proprietor from community C)
“We can’t even clear an area. We can only clear a small area for a tiny field. For pasture, nobody can clear nor use fire. If we burn, we get a fine that we can’t even pay for.”
“After rubber and farinha came to nothing, we started to live off the income from cattle. So, the sustenance that we have today is from these cattle, and they want to take away our cattle.”
4.1. Understanding Unequal Access to Brazil Nuts in the CIER
4.2. Integrating Brazil Nut Access and Livelihood Strategies
4.3. Re-Assessing the Role of Cattle in the CIER and in Extractive Reserves
“For us to live from extractivism alone, it would be necessary for it to be valued. And it is not. If there is something to substitute cattle, we would abandon it at once. But if there isn’t, what can we do?”
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
Appendix A. Brazil Nut Interview Question Guide
- Who owns the castanhal you harvest?
- How is harvest organized (in terms of division of labour and benefits)? Do women harvest?
- How do you transport the nuts?
- How many castanhais/trees do you harvest?
- Is there any variability in production (e.g., between trees or years)?
- How much did you harvest this year (2015)? How much did you harvest last year (2014)?
- Do you sell your Brazil nut production? If so, to whom?
- For how much did you sell your production this year (2015)? For how much did you sell your production last year (2014)?
- Do you sell your production individually or collectively?
- Do you get any cash advances before harvest?
The most important state actor in the area is the Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade (ICMBio)—Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation—a federal institution within the Ministry of the Environment.
The first author has since returned to the area for a total of four months.
The gender bias in our sample reflects the fact that men are generally regarded as heads of households but also that the gender of the first author made it harder to interview women, although women, usually the wife of the household head, were often present and intervened during interviews. Still, our study may have failed to capture important intra-household dynamics, including women’s access to resources, vast knowledge and use of plants, as well as income generating activities (e.g., ). We hope that further studies will be able to explicitly address women’s roles and accounts regarding the topics studied.
The range and median age (in years) of respondents in each of the three communities are: A (minimum = 20, maximum = 70, median = 40); B (minimum = 23, maximum = 75, median = 45); community C (minimum = 20, maximum = 57, median = 30).
The questions related to harvest figures, products’ prices, and activities’ economic importance refer to the years 2015 and 2014. Monetary values in Brazilian Reais (BRL) were converted to US Dollars (USD) using the rate of 23 May 2015: USD 1 = BRL 3.07.
By using such indicators as “presence in livelihood portfolio” and “primary source of income”, we sought to provide a basic description of livelihood portfolios in order to focus on the relationship between differential access to Brazil nuts and livelihood diversification.
The local terms are: dono de castanha (“Brazil nut owner”, that is, proprietor), pessoa que quebra castanha de meia (“person who harvests meia Brazil nuts”, that is, authorised user), and pessoa que não tem castanha (“person who has no Brazil nuts”, that is, no access).
Roads are inoperative during the inverno due to high rainfall. Conversely, high water levels in streams and rivers in the same period allow easy navigation.
Few households plant Brazil nuts because most think the trees take too long to produce.
There are also considerable productivity differences between trees and stands.
Community A in our sample is an exception to this general trend. For reasons that are elaborated in the discussion, productive areas of forest were parcelled out to extended families as part of an internally led land reform process in the 1990s.
Although rights to the land (colocações) and its resources are formally registered with the environmental body (ICMBio), arrangements about Brazil nut harvest are performed informally between households.
The scheme allows a group of 17 harvesters to participate and share in the harvest of Brazil nuts owned by three proprietors through the meia system. Requests for access to this specific scheme by households are discussed and decided by consensus in meetings between harvesters and an appointed coordinator. Proprietors or individuals with reliable income streams, such as teachers, are excluded from the scheme.
This does not mean that the smaller castanhais are “unimportant” or under-valued; precisely because they are not commercialised, they are important for local consumption, sharing and subsistence.
Bill Draft (Projeto de Lei) 313, 2020 (https://www.camara.leg.br/proposicoesWeb/fichadetramitacao?idProposicao=2237320, accessed on 20 June 2022), last updated on 18 August 2021. The bill draft must go through several levels of parliamentary analysis before it is submitted for approval by the president.
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|Characteristic||Community A||Community B||Community C|
|Origin||Seringueiro families||Seringueiro families||Mixed seringueiro and migrant families|
|Settlement pattern||Nucleated||Traditional units (300–500 ha)||Small units (20–100 ha)|
|Occupation history||30 years||~95 years||~15 years|
|Access to town||By river (~4 h) with seasonal road access||By river (~6 h) with seasonal road access||By river (~2 h) with seasonal road access|
|Households||Community A||Community B||Community C||Total|
|Community/Castanhal||Trees (n)||Production (t)||Gross Revenue (k USD)|
|Community A *||2014||2015||2014||2015|
|Castanhal 2 (C-gr)||180||5||10||3.4||9.8|
|Castanhal 3 (C-gr)||150||0.9||1.5||0.5||1.5|
|Castanhal 4 (C-gr)||120||0.8||1||0.6||1|
|Castanhal 5 (C-ind)||90||2.8||2.6||2.4||2.5|
|Castanhal 6 (C-ind)||55||0.7||1.1||0.5||1|
|Castanhal 7 (C-ind)||36||0||0.6||0||0.6|
|Castanhal 8 (C-gr)||25||0.2||0.7||0.2||0.7|
|Community B *|
|Castanhal 1 (C-gr)||120||6.8||7||4.4||6.9|
|Castanhal 2 (C-ind)||80||0.7||2||0.5||2|
|Castanhal 3 (C-ind)||32||0.1||0.2||0.1||0.2|
|Castanhal 4 (C-ind)||20||0.4||0.5||0.3||0.5|
|Castanhal 5 (S)||10||-||-||-||-|
|Castanhal 6 (S)||10||-||-||-||-|
|Castanhal 7 (S)||6||-||-||-||-|
|Castanhal 8 (S)||2||-||-||-||-|
|Castanhal 9 (S)||1||-||-||-||-|
|Community C *|
|Castanhal 1 (C-gr)||18||0.3||0.4||0.2||0.3|
|Castanhal 2 (S)||5||-||0.1||-||0.1|
|Castanhal 3 (S)||8||-||-||-||-|
|Castanhal 4 (S)||4||-||-||-||-|
|Access Type||Term||Harvest Scheme||Social Relationship|
|Direct||Proprietor||Division of labour||Division of trees||Kin|
|Indirect||Authorised user||Meia contract||Subsistence||Kin or friends|
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Ubiali, B.; Alexiades, M. Forests, Fields, and Pastures: Unequal Access to Brazil Nuts and Livelihood Strategies in an Extractive Reserve, Brazilian Amazon. Land 2022, 11, 967. https://doi.org/10.3390/land11070967
Ubiali B, Alexiades M. Forests, Fields, and Pastures: Unequal Access to Brazil Nuts and Livelihood Strategies in an Extractive Reserve, Brazilian Amazon. Land. 2022; 11(7):967. https://doi.org/10.3390/land11070967Chicago/Turabian Style
Ubiali, Bruno, and Miguel Alexiades. 2022. "Forests, Fields, and Pastures: Unequal Access to Brazil Nuts and Livelihood Strategies in an Extractive Reserve, Brazilian Amazon" Land 11, no. 7: 967. https://doi.org/10.3390/land11070967