URB-AL Pampa. Urban Agglomeration in Protected Areas / Aglomerados Urbanos em Área Protegida

Uploaded by ludocontenidos on 05.03.2012

This document was prepared with financial assistance from the European Union.
However, their content is the sole responsibility of the municipality of Borba
and can not, under any circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union
The European Commission’s URB-AL III Program
has the general objective of increasing the degree of social and territorial cohesion
at the heart of local and regional Latin American communities.
The “Urban agglomeration in protected areas:
methods for promoting socioeconomic development of the population while protecting the environment” project
was one of the projects chosen in the third phase of this program.
It aims to reach this objective by bringing together the environmentally protected areas
which exist in the border region between Brazil and Uruguay,
improving the quality of life of the populations which live there
and reducing social differences.
The Department of Rivera in Uruguay
and the Brazilian municipalities of Santana do Livramento, Quaraí,
Alegrete and Rosário do Sul all participate in the project,
along with the Maronna Foundation and the Municipality of Borba in Portugal which acts as the coordinator.
The project has two phases:
the first is to analyze and gain knowledge about the local reality,
which produced the International Database
as the first instrument of social and territorial cohesion.
the second phase has to do with the development of projects to create new sources of income,
and to strengthen sources of existing income,
linked to territorial and cultural valorization, and the protection of natural resources.
Generally, protected areas
have interesting landscapes, a lot of diversity
but few possibilities for significant agricultural development.
Here it is very difficult to do agriculture
and increasingly difficult to raise livestock,
progress brings good things as well as others….
Eight out of every 10 years bring drought conditions
which means our production system, which is based on extensive production
in natural conditions
results in low productivity for our producers,
which makes some of the conditional parameters for income difficult,
mainly for families which own small properties.
With regards to the issue of environmental protection,
sometimes this limits the intensity of some activities,
making it more difficult for these families to generate sufficient income to keep people in the countryside.
I used to get a lot of beams out of this woodland.
Over there, there used to be a mill where 30 men worked,
I was a saw and tractor operator.
We deforested and exploited all this land.
Not anymore. Now you can’t cut trees down anymore...
The pampa is characterized by prairie vegetation,
such as grasses and herbaceous vegetation
as well as denser vegetation
where ciliary forest formations are found,
or forest formations on hillsides, protecting them.
This ciliary forest is very important
because it protects the soils from river erosion.
The rivers continue with their normal water course,
they serve as soil protection
so that the water does not fall as strongly on the ground
and the nutrients and the earth are not deposited on the riverbed.
This is very important.
They act as ecological corridors,
and are always found along the waterways.
Rivers and streams
Here we are at the streambed of a ravine,
which is the typical ecosystem in the region.
Ravine woodlands
The ecosystem is not just trees.
When it rains this is a torrent.
Within a radius of a few kilometers we have 5 native woodland systems:
mountain woodland, ravine woodland, riparian woodland,
ridge woodland, which is amazing and just recently has started to be studied,
and also prairie shrubland.
One sees a balanced ecosystem,
with mature trees, dying trees
like a branch which fell and is dead
with many epiphytes on it
and then all kinds of young trees,
from germinating seeds to trees that are a few years old.
Now I think I am the oldest person here,
I grew up here, I went away, I came back
and now I am here again and I will die here.
Always pushing ahead….
I raised my children here, I watched them all marry.
Here you can’t achieve anything,
like the song says....
“If you don’t leave here, you won’t achieve anything”,
It was always like that in our region.
Here can’t achieve anything...
I am hooked on the wisdom of each expert
with everything which our partner Andres could teach me
about what can be obtained from nature.
He guides us on how to achieve a variety of colours
which can be obtained from the roots,
with the fruits, with the barks…
I started with the dyed wool, which is dyed with marcela.
I have this dye from the Chilean Myrtle.
This is natural.
This is natural also from the sheep.
This is the soot from my chimney,
depending on the wood which is burned, you get a different colour.
This is with Brazilian cherry.
This is the three cross thorn bush.
You are a talented woman.
I do my best with whatever I try my hand at…
Now what you have to do is learn to value these products
and learn to sell.
Women in the country are strong, they are fighters.
What is missing is for someone to come and tell them how talented they are,
and how with this talent they can convert stone into gold.
With this primary material they can earn a lot of money
because its an art.
We are going to take our producers from Livramento to Rivera
to work together weaving and working with coarse wool.
Over generations these people have learned
that they can live from agriculture and raising animals.
Tourism comes naturally in the border region,
but in this region of the Environmentally Protected Area it was never exploited as a commercial activity.
Livramento and Rivera have a dry border,
and an imaginary one, and no physical limit exists,
our only limits are the markers.
The locals here, don’t perceive the separation,
we are one people with two flags,
and two dialects which transform into one,
our “Portuñol”, our customs,
Tomorrow we are going across,
I don’t know, maybe at noon, and stay over there,
we are going to do 8 or 10 kilometers in the morning,
depending on how the cattle are.
In general the people who live in a protected area,
think that they aren’t going to be able to do certain things,
that they are used to be able to doing
because its a protected area.
So this project tries to clear this idea up,
in regards to how you can live in a protected area,
and to develop it in a sustainable way.
We are not used to bringing tourists to see our area,
and it is such a rich experience to do so,
and people here are realizing that, through this project,
that tourism is generator of employment,
and a generator of income,
and that you don’t have to degrade the environment.
On the contrary, you have to protect
the natural beauties for future generations,
and it will continue to be a source of employment and income,
and it allow the sons of producers
to stay on their properties,
to continue with agriculture and ranching,
inserting tourism into their activities.
This is an area with small properties,
there are both large and small properties,
but for the most part they are small,
so the goal is that these small properties
receive the knowledge, and the expertise to be able to improve production,
and improve the quality of life of the people.
But there are people who do not think like this,
and say that in the time of our great grandfathers
they were brought up a certain way, we were raised that way and this has not changed.
But he could be a lot better off,
This is the cultural heritage…
only that now things are changing.
Today the quality of animal that is needed is different,
and you have to keep up to date,
you have to dance the dance,
and improve everything.
Over there is the Ibirapuitã River, the most dense woodland.
On the other side of the river is the Municipality of Rosario,
and over there rising up are the hills,
and there is Quaraí.
The soil here is extremely rocky,
it is classified as new soil
because there are a lot of stones, and some plants which
provide protection for the trees which make up the woodland,
not allowing the herd of sheep to enter.
So the sheep, which is the typical animal here,
helps maintain this environment.
The project focuses on small and medium sized properties
which are those really in need of support
and incentives
to improve their production.
We think that in the APA of Ibirapuitã,
this sector is important
and will be important in feeding the families.
Honey is nutritious,
a high energy alternative,
and the wax can be used to make cosmetics,
or the propoleo as medicine,
and it is important for pollination
of the plants, it is very important.
Its handling is a big problem,
one has to have two roles,
of beekeeper and assistant.
So sometimes you are a fumigator, sometimes you manage here,
its a series of things,
and its difficult.
In this project we work with small family producers,
vegetable and fruit growers from the area,
promoting sustainable horticulture,
which is environmentally friendly,
and minimizes the use of agro-chemicals,
taking care of soil use,
all these measures,
in order to produce a healthy product
for the final consumer
and which could have a seal of guarantee
and a certification for commercialization
in order to obtain a better price.
We still have not gotten to the commercial part,
the idea of the project
is to see if we can get to the “bottleneck”
of all production which is commercialization.
What stimulates producers to invest,
to improve the production system,
is self esteem.
Our job is about soil nutrition,
we are always working with soil nutrition
using the least amount of chemical herbicides as possible.
With pastures
the winter is when seeding is done,
we do not use direct sowing machines,
and in the summer perennials are used,
where the pasture is just planted once and not touched again.
The project includes planting a demonstration unit,
here on Donna Vera’s property.
Experts will come to train the producers,
and all the interested producers from the region.
I am sure that it will improve their quality of life,
because before they had almost no profits,
they spent what they earned,
and had no earnings,
many times even losing money.
For this reason I am sure
that in the not so distant future
there will be a big change on this property,
in the quality of life and in the mood,
because working with earnings makes it possible to work better.
So we are breaking paradigms,
and we are still discussing,
if this activity is feasible or not,
and the URBAL project is giving us this opportunity
to try new things and we do not need to stay entrenched in one activity,
and we have the possibility of diversifying income generation
and creating a better future for our families,
who want to live in the countryside.
Nobody is forced to live here,
but what makes us sad
is when a producer who wants to stay
does not see any alternative but leaving
because they have no income generating options.