Arbor Day was created as an important date to reflect, discuss and increasingly place into practice actions focused on the environment and a healthier world, thinking about the future of the current and future generations. To celebrate the date, the Land Conservation Organization (OCT) invited several different institutions to present the pilot project entitled “Payments for Environmental Services” (PSA) focused on establishing partnerships for its development.
The initiative involves compensating rural farmers from Bahia’s rural region, primarily the Southern Lowlands, for granting their properties for the OCT team to maintain, conserve and restore the natural resources found in degraded areas. With the support of other organizations, it seeks to establish a balance between the different flows of life, such as water, soil, fauna, flora, humans and their businesses.
In an integrated fashion with the Pratigi Environmental Protection Area Guardian Association (AGIR), OCT coordinated a special programming, with presentations and a round of questions during the Methodological Improvement Workshop: Payment for Environmental Services Pilot Program. Held on September 20 at the Serra da Papuã Welcoming Center, in Ibirapitanga (Bahia), the meeting gathered representatives from the Bahia State Regional Action Development Company (CAR), National Water Agency (ANA), The Nature Conservancy, Brazilian Biodiversity Fund (FUNBIO) and from the Environmental Departments of the municipalities of Igrapiúna, Nilo Peçanha and Piraí do Norte.
To kick off the activities, Joaquim Cardoso, Chair of the OCT Board of Trustees, explained the importance of the Development and Integrated Growth Program with Sustainability for the Southern Bahia Lowlands Environmental Protection Areas Mosaic (PDCIS) and presented it as a model that can be replicated. PDCIS – which is supported by the Odebrecht Foundation in partnership with the government, private initiative and civil society – is a set of actions designed to make the Southern Lowlands a prosperous and dynamic region. Its objectives include elaborating proposals for the conservation of natural resources and generation of jobs and income. Several different local institutions, such as OCT and AGIR, also participate in the program.
The event also included the presence of Devanir Garcia, Manager of the Sustainable Water and Soil Use area at ANA. He presented the agency’s experiences and affirmed its interest in establishing agreements with OCT. “We are very happy to be a part of this meeting,” said Garcia. “We know how hard it is to implement projects and here we found a highly advanced model. ANA is here support, help and share the burden and bonus of this,” he said. Based on this same reasoning, Volney Fernandes, Coordinator-Integrator of OCT and leader of the Environmental Services Alliance, emphasized that “in order to ensure the effectiveness of the actions, it becomes necessary to promote participative governance, involving partners from the federal, state and municipal spheres.
Valdete do Nascimento, a resident of the Mata do Sossego settlement in Igrapiúna, is one of the beneficiaries of the PSA project. Because she granted her property, which extends 16.7 hectares, she was compensated and is contributing toward environmental conservation by initiating reforestation activities. “I’m monitoring two water sources that I have here, since they can dry up, and to prevent this from happening, I’ve decided to help them,” said Nascimento. Jeovan Nascimento also participates in PSA. He is restoring a water source on his terrain, located in the community of Juliana, in the municipality of Piraí do Norte, and has positive expectations about the result. “My children and grandchildren need to know what a forest is,” he said.
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