Russas and Valparaíso REDD+ projects in Acre, Brazil

Despite high promises, these two carbon offset projects show that REDD+ is not an idea that comes from the communities, nor one that benefits these. Instead it creates a new commodity of carbon credits that permits ongoing pollution in the Global North.


Description

Projeto Russas and Projeto Valparaíso are two private carbon offset projects of the company CarbonCo in the Brazilian state of Acre.

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Basic Data
NameRussas and Valparaíso REDD+ projects in Acre, Brazil
CountryBrazil
ProvinceAcre
SitePorto Walter
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biodiversity conservation conflicts
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
REDD/CDM
Specific CommoditiesLand
Ecosystem Services
Carbon offsets
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsProject area: 42,000 ha (Russas) and 21,900 ha (Valparaíso)

Location: 40 kilometers south of the city of Cruzeiro do Sul and in proximity of the municipality Porto Walter (9.176 residents), along the rivers of Juruá and Valparaíso. [5][6]

The projects are led by the US-based CarbonCo in partnership with Freitas International Group, also known as Carbon Securities. CarbonCo is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Carbonfund.org Foundation, Inc. and responsible for project certification and its early-stage financing. Carbon Securities works as a facilitator between them and the land owners and managers, assisting with logistics for site visits and translations. The land owner of Projeto Russas is the company I.S.R.C. Investimentos e Assessoria LTDA and the one of Projeto Valparaíso is Manoel Batista Lopes. I.S.R.C. Investimentos e Assessoria LTDA is responsible for the on-site management of both projects and the social programs for the communities. Manoel Batista Lopes bought the land of Valparaíso in the 1980s for the purpose of rubber tapping, the owner of I.S.R.C. Investimentos e Assessoria LTDA, former vice-mayor of Cruzeiro do Sul, the area of Russas in 2004 from former rubber tappers. [5][6]

The Russas project plans to create an emission reduction of 1,201,474 tons of carbon dioxide over the first ten years, the Valparaíso project in turn estimates the emission reduction to be equivalent of 1,538,533 tons of carbon dioxide. The projects lifetime is in both cases 60 years with the possibility to extend it twice for 25 years whereas the carbon crediting period will be 30 years, thus until 2041.

The Russas project reports a number of 190 individuals in 20 communities within the area, the Valparaíso project a total of 260 individuals in 35 communities. [5][6][22]

The projects are certified by ‘Verified Carbon Standard’ and the ‘Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance’ and legally bound to the REDD+ and Payment for Ecosystem Services norms of the State of Acre (Sistema Estadual de Incentivos a Serviços Ambientais, adopted in 2010). Terra Carbon and TECMAN LTDA provided technical assistance. The project reports also suggested the involvement of SOS Amazonia but in a declaration the organization denied to be officially part of the project or having an agreement with the owner as it was only assisting some affected families informally. [5][6]
Project Area (in hectares)63,900
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Populationofficially 450 within the project area, more around
Start Date19/03/2011
Company Names or State EnterprisesTerra Carbon LLC from United States of America - Project partner, technical assistance
The Climate Community & Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) from United States of America - certification
CarbonCO LLC from United States of America - Project initiator; certification, financing
TECMAN LTDA from Chile - Project partner, technical assistance
Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) from United States of America - certification
I.S.R.C. Investimentos e Assessoria LTDA from Brazil - Land owner and manager of Projeto Russas
Manoel Batista Lopes, ME from Brazil - Land owner and manager of Projeto Valparaíso
Freitas International Group LLC (Carbon Securities) from United States of America - Project developer; facilitator between project initiator and land owner
Relevant government actorsState Government of Acre

Ministry of Justice and Public Security

FUNAI
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersFriends of the Earth Brazil https://amigosdaterrabrasil.wordpress.com/

The World Rainforest Movement https://wrm.org.uy/

Conselho Indigenista Missionário https://www.cimi.org.br/ - see also blog of Lindo Lindomar Padilha of CIMI Regional Amazônia Ocidental: https://lindomarpadilha.blogspot.com/

Federação do Povo Huni kui do Acre https://fephac.wixsite.com/fephac

Plataforma DhESCA Brasil http://www.plataformadh.org.br/

Conselho de Missão entre Índios http://comin.org.br/

Sindicato dos Trabalhadores Rurais de Xapuri
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Referendum other local consultations
Street protest/marches
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Other Environmental impacts
Otherpotential biodiversity loss due to loss of traditional land use practices and the species they sustain.
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Potential: Displacement, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Violations of human rights, Other socio-economic impacts, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession
OtherPotential social problems are community divide, among others (see description text).

Cooptation of community leaders (see description text).
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseApplication of existing regulations
Development of AlternativesThe mobilizing communities who signed the Xapuri and Sena Madureira Declarations view carbon trading as a false response to climate change.

The human rights platform DhESCA stresses the importance of the community's political and cultural rights. The strengthening of these would empower them to continue a life with and from the forest without being restricted in their ways of life, threatened, stigmatized or instrumentalized.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.There has been an effort of collective mobilization and awareness raising from local indigenous organizations and communities and some reports from media and international environmental NGOs but so far without a wider impact. Protests against REDD+ were often part of a wider mobilization for land demarcation and against the curtailing of indigenous rights.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Lei dos Serviços dos Ecossistemas #2.308/2010 (SISA; Acre Environmental Services Incentive System)
[click to view]

Californian Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32)
[click to view]

Lei Nº 1.426 de 27 de Dezembre 2001, Estado do Acre (State Forestry Law)
[click to view]

References

[8] Faustino, C.; Furtado, F. (2015): Plataforma DhESCA: Economia Verde, Povos das Florestas e Territórios: violações de direitos no Estado do Acre. Rio Branco: Relatoria do Direito Humano ao Meio Ambiente da Plataforma Dhesca.

[1] Kill, J. (2014): REDD in Brazil: Two case studies on early forest carbon offset projects. Rio de Janeiro: Heinrich Böll Stiftung Brasil.

[5] CarbonCo (2014): The Valparaiso Project. A Tropical Forest Conservation Project in Acre, Brazil.

[3] CIMI (2012): Dossiê Acre. Documento especial para a cúpula dos povos - Rio de Janeiro, 2012.

[6] CarbonCo (2014): The Russas Project. A Tropical Forest Conservation Project in Acre, Brazil.

[2] May, P; Gebara, M.; Barcellos, L.; Rizek, M; Millikan, B. (2016): The context of REDD+ in Brazil. Drivers, actors and institutions, Third edition. Bogor: CIFOR, Occasional Paper, 160.

[4] Albuquerque, G. (2004): Cultura, trabalho e lutas sociais entre trabalhadores agroextrativistas do rio Valparaíso na Amazônia acreana”. Revista Nera, ano 7, n. 5 – agosto/dezembro de 2004.

Links

[15] Democracy Now (2014): Brazilian Indigenous Leader: Carbon Trading Scheme “REDD” is a False Solution to Climate Change. (accessed online 10.07.2018).
[click to view]

[22] Carbon Securities (2016): Valparaiso Project. (Online, last accessed 10.07.2018)
[click to view]

[14] Padilha, L. (2016): Indígenas do Acre e Sul do Amazonas vão à Brasília denunciar violações de direitos. (Blog entry on 28 June, 2016. (accessed online 10.07.2018).
[click to view]

[20] Motion of rejection and solidarity. (Open Letter published at World Rainforest Movement Online, aaccessed online 10.07.2018).
[click to view]

[18] Padilha, L. (2017): Indígenas repudiam carta de perseguição ao CIMI no Acre. (Video, accessed online 10.07.2018).
[click to view]

[11] Padilha, L. (2016): Em Rio Branco, AC, indígenas realizam ato e ocupam simbolicamente a Funai, Palácio do Governo e Assembléia Legislativa contra a violação de seus direitos. (Blog entry on 13 July, 2016, accessed online 10.07.2018).
[click to view]

[21] Brazil: Sena Madureira Declaration, June 17, 2018. (Published at World Rainforest Movement Online, accessed online 10.07.2018).
[click to view]

[7] Tribuna do Juruá (2013): Projetos Russas e Valparaíso oferecem cursos de melhora ao sistema produtivo e fim do uso do fogo. Published on 25 July, 2013. (accessed online 10.07.2018).
[click to view]

[19] Lang, C. (2017): Indigenous peoples in Acre, Brazil announce their support for CIMI’s work in support of indigenous peoples. (Article published on 10 October, 2017, accessed online 10.07.2018).
[click to view]

[12] Padilha, L. (2013): 25 mil pessoas vão às ruas de Rio Branco Para desespero do Tião Viana. (Blog entry on 23 June, 2013, accessed online 10.07.2018).
[click to view]

[17] World Rainforest Movement (2017): Brasil: Povos Indígenas do Acre declaram sua rejeição às políticas de REDD e seu apoio ao CIMI. (Article published on 3 October, 2017, accessed online 10.07.2018).
[click to view]

[16] Xapuri Declaration, May 28, 2017. (Published at World Rainforest Movement Online, accessed online 10.07.2018).
[click to view]

[10] Lang, C. (2013): Letter from Brazil opposing REDD in California’s Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32). (Article published at redd-monitor.org, 23 April, 2013, accessed online 10.07.2018).
[click to view]

[9] Glass, V. (2013): Projetos de carbono no Acre ameaçam direito à terra. (Article published on 19 December, 2013, accessed online 10.07.2018).
[click to view]

[13] Padilha, L. (2013): No Acre, em protesto, indígenas ocupam a frente do palácio do governador e assembléia legislativa. (Blog entry on 4 October, 2013, accessed online 10.07.2018).
[click to view]

Media Links

Xapuri Declaration
[click to view]

Video: Meeting of indigenous and traditional communities Feijó in September 2017, announcing the open letter in support of CIMI and against attempted cooptation through the REDD+ proponents.
[click to view]

Open Letter to Governments and Press Release 2017
[click to view]

Sena Madureira Declaration
[click to view]

Video: Brazilian Indigenous Leader: Carbon Trading Scheme “REDD” is a False Solution to Climate Change
[click to view]

Videos series with 22 videos from Xapuri documenting the effects of REDD+ on traditional population (Os efeitos das políticas ambientais/climáticas para as populações tradicionais)
[click to view]

Other Documents

Meeting in Sena Madureira
[click to view]

Project kick-off: Communities within the Russas area were photographed receiving dental kids.
[click to view]

Xapuri, 2017: representatives of affected communities in the region gathered to mobilize against REDD+ projects
[click to view]

Sena Madureira, 2018: Mobilizing communities met again to build a broader alliance and denounce false solutions to climate change.
[click to view]

Project seat in Russas.
[click to view]

A board of the Valparaíso project in the community of Terra Firme de Cima
[click to view]

A community meeting in Valparaíso
[click to view]

Demonstration in Rio Branco 2013: Banner against REDD
[click to view]

In 2013 indigenous organizations of Acre mobilized 25.000 people in Rio Branco against the regional government and several of its policies that threaten indigenous rights, including the adoption of SISA that opened the way to REDD+ projects
[click to view]

BRACRRV 7 A community meeting in Valparaíso (Source: Verena Glass)
[click to view]

BRACRRV 2 In 2013 indigenous organizations of Acre mobilized 25.000 people in Rio Branco against the regional government and several of its policies that threaten indigenous rights, including the adoption of SISA that opened the way to REDD+ projects (Source: Lindomar Padilha)
[click to view]

BRACRRV 5 Demonstrating one of few tangible benefits: a dental kid (Source: A Critica do Acre)
[click to view]

BRACRRV 1 In 2017 representatives of affected communities in the region gathered for a meeting in Xapuri and released a declaration against REDD+ projects in the region. (Source: Lindomar Padilha / Samuel Jaminawa)
[click to view]

BRACRRV 4 In 2018 the mobilizing communities met again in Sena Madureira to build alliances and denounced false solutions to climate change. (Source: Amigos da Terra)
[click to view]

BRACRRV 6 A board of the Valparaíso project, in the community of Terra Firme de Cima (Source: Verena Glass)
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorMax Stoisser
Last update14/12/2018
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