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Purus REDD Project, Brazil


Purus REDD Project has the objective to reduce the impacts from deforestation in an area of 34,702 acres in the municipality of Manoel Urbano – State of Acre, Brazil. The main argument for the establishment of a REDD project is that under Brazilian legislation the territory could legally undergo a wider extension of deforestation to give space for agriculture and livestock activities. The option to keep the forest up is thus compensated with the commercialization of carbon credits. But Purus Project also claims it will stop the ongoing deforestation of the land caused by smallholder residents who use the land for their small scale agroforest productions. Thus, the Project claims it will control the local traditional population to not increase the levels of deforestation and also to make them partners in reforestation processes. It claims it will do so by introducing social projects and activities, such as: capacitation of agricultural techniques, deforestation patrolling, house infrastructure renewals and the installation of photovoltaic plants for the community.

The 18 families who are resident in the 34,702 acres of land of the Purus REDD Project have, in average, lived in the land for the last 20-30 years, at least. There are residents who have been there for over 50 years. They are composed mostly by families whose ancestors migrated to take part in the rubber-tapping activity from the start of the XX century. Families practice shifting cultivation and agro-forestry systems, who involve the clearing of land for both agriculture, some livestock and wood. It is exactly by restricting the small scale activities that the Project wishes to achieve its objective to generate carbon credits.

According to the discourse from Purus Project representatives,  the smallholders' “non-sustainable actions” apply significant “pressure upon the forest”. This argument naturally places the families as “deforestation agents” and thus, is enough to sustain a narrative of culpability. Such a narrative is essential for the creation of legitimacy to a conservation project that can only be justified by the existence of real threats to the forest (Movimento Mundial pelas Florestas Tropicais, 2013).

Families started to mobilize in 2013 for a public consultation with Purus Project representatives and from the Municipality of Manoel Urbano. At the time, they claimed that workers from Project Purus had long been acting in intimidating manner by threatening the community with eviction from the land in case they did not agree to comply with the requirements of the Project. Requirements such as to stop their traditional agroforestry activities. To comply with that, it basically brings to a halt the possibility of these families to reproduce their way of life. In a nearer future, it would impose that out of necessity they move out of the land, either to neighboring settlements or the urban area of Manoel Urbano.

Families also claim that they have been “tricked” into signing documents where they accept to comply to the Project´s requirements. As researchers engaged in their defense have claimed, some residents are illiterate and most of them do not know about REDD schemes and its requirements. Nonetheless, the Project also promised a series of social and economical advantages for the families. None of which seem to have been materialized. So far, in relation to land, the Project established that each family, if they cooperate to the Project´s objectives, will be allowed to maintain their homes, limited at 100 acre per family – minimum amount of land per Amazonian family as established by Brazilian Law. Nowadays, families use more than 100-acre in order to maintain their shifting cultivations. However, it's the responsability of the federal institution INCRA (National Institute for Colonization and Agrarian Reform) to issue entitlement documents. this is a guaranteed federal right of the settlers and not a promise or compensation that surges out of the “good will” of Project Purus. Further, the Project offered a value of R$ 600 reais (around US$ 150) a month for each family to stop the activities they endure for their own survival. This value represents around 60% of the minimum wage in Brazil established for 2017. Therefore, it is insufficient to provide and sustain a full family.

The families who live in the area, along with movements in the State of Acre but also assisted by researchers from the local state university are trying to reach out for more awareness from the State Government. More specifically, from State institutions like IMC (Climate Change Institute)  who is responsible for the implementation of the SISA program (Acre Incentives System for Ecosystem Services). They have tried to bring the State into resolving the conflict and rising tensions due to implementation of the Purus REDD Project. Public consultations have happened, both in Manoel Urbano and in the capital Rio Branco and they have served as important events for the families to make their voices heard and their claims formalized.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Purus REDD Project, Brazil
State or province:Acre
(municipality or city/town)Manoel Urbano
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict: 1st level:Biodiversity conservation conflicts
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Carbon offsets
Ecosystem Services

Project Details and Actors

Project details:

The project started in 2011 with the design of a REDD scheme to be installed in the municipality of Manoel Urbano, 200 km a way from Rio Branco the capital of the State of Acre in Brazil. Responsible for the design and implementation of the project are the Brazilian company Moura & Rosa Empreendimentos Imobiliários in connection with the North American based CarbonCo LLC. and Freitas International Group. The main objective is to reduce the impacts from deforestation in the 34,702 acres under the projects management.The project has been verified by Verified Carbon Standard and by Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCBS). Project report says it will neutralize 1,701, 585 meter-tonnes of CO2 in the next 10 years. SO far, the project has already commercialized its carbon offsetting credits, including to FIFA (World Football Association) for the carbon neutralization of the 2014 Football World Cup. CarbonCo LLC has already two more REDD projects, like Purus, on the making in Acre: Projects Valparaíso and Russas.

The State of Acre has established in its development policies to promote “sustainability” and to be inserted in the vanguard of the “green economy movement”. As such, it has been promoted through the SISA Program (Acre´s System of Incentives for Ecosystem Services) the adoption of green economy policy instruments such as REDD. Purus REDD Project attempts to be part of the SISA Program and as such, it has been supported by State representatives to be implemented. In relation to the conflict with local populations, the State has, so far, claimed it is not its responsibility, that both parties should find an agreement. However, members from MP-Acre (Public Ministery of Acre, responsible for receiving claims from the population) have already been consulted and are aware of the ongoing tensions.

Project area:34,702
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:01/06/2011
Company names or state enterprises:Moura & Rosa Empreendimentos Imobiliários from Brazil - This company belongs to the claimed owners of the 34,502 acres that comprehend the land for Purus Project and are co-creators of the Project.
CarbonCO LLC from United States of America - Co-creators of the project
Freitas International Group LLC (Carbon Securities) from United States of America - The company secutritizes the carbon credits and attempts to commercialize them in the market.
Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) from United States of America - Certified Purus REDD Project
The Climate Community & Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) from United States of America - Certified Purus REDD Project
Relevant government actors:Government of the State of Acre

Municipal Authority of Manoel Urbano

Instituto de Meio Ambiente do Acre - IMAC

IMC - Instituto de Mudanças Climáticas e Regulaçao dos Serviços Ambientais
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Conselho Indigenista Missionário - CIMI

Movimento Mundial pelas Florestas

Plataforma Dhesca Brasil

Centro de Memórias das Lutas e Movimentos Sociais da Amazônia

Conflict and Mobilization

IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Media based activism/alternative media
Referendum other local consultations

Impacts of the project

Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Application of existing regulations
Negotiated alternative solution
Project cancelled
Criminalization of activists
Strengthening of participation
Land demarcation
Withdrawal of company/investment
Development of alternatives:Contemplate local families (resident of the area for decades) with ownership documents of the land they live. This scenario changes the capacity of the REDD Project to advance and a future withdrawal of the companies involved could be possible.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Resistance of the community to accept the requirements proposed by Project Purus has brought the Project into a temporary halt. The unresolved situation with the community keeps it from being accepted into SISA (Acre´s System of Incentives for Environmental Services). Although, the companies involved in the Project keep marketing it and are searching ways to advance in their own forms.

Sources and Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Política Nacional de Desenvolvimento Sustentável dos Povos e Comunidades Tradicionais - created by Decreto 6.040 / 2007

Lei 6.969 - 1981: Regarding the acquisition by "Usucapião Especial" of rural land.

Lei 2.308 de 2010: establishes Acre´s System of Incentives for Ecosystem Services

Política Nacional de Direitos Humanos - established by Decreto 7.037/2009

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Critical report on the "Green economy" of Acre

Study and report from the Centro de Memórias das Lutas e Movimentos Sociais da Amazônia

Report on environmental justice in Acre by Plataforma Dhesca (HUman Rights Plataform)

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

News agency from the state of Acre article on lack of transparency from "the green economy agenda".

Conselho Indigenista Missionário

Article regarding carbon projects in Acre

Other documents

Free transportation service of the Purus project Free transportation service of the Purus project as part of the corporate strategy to push forward the offsetting project.


Meta information

Last update18/04/2017



Free transportation service of the Purus project

Free transportation service of the Purus project as part of the corporate strategy to push forward the offsetting project. Source: