Sustainable livelihood activities are a crucial building block in the overall conservation strategy of the Amazônia Association, which has developed a range of sustainable, enterprising activities.

These put into practice the Association's belief that local economic development is possible without the irresponsible use of natural resources. 
The structure and governance of the Association enables the income and benefits from these activities to be shared amongst the members, as well as supporting investment in infrastructure such as boats and ecotourist facilities.
The activities include:
  • Community-owned sustainable ecotourism: small groups of visitors stay in Malocas in Xixuaú (houses in the style of the Waimiri-Atroari indigenous people). They can explore the flooded forest by canoe, take guided walks, relax in the village and enjoy fishing trips, which give them an insight into traditional ribeirinho culture
  • Hosting scientists and research projects
  • The production of traditional craft products, such as jewellery, ornaments and basketry, using seeds, plant fibres, dried plants and liana vines
  • Hosting photographers and documentary film makers, including the BBC, CNN and the Cousteau Ocean Future Society. Film crews are particularly attracted to the Reserve’s uniquely clear running waters and rich biodiversity.
  • Marketing of non timber forest products: this currently involves brazil nuts but prices are low due to the distance to markets and the need to operate through middlemen. However, there is a growing market for rainforest fruit and fruit pulps; those with potential include camu-camu, açai and cupuaçu.
In February 2010 a new community cooperative, CoopXixuaú, was formally established to take the lead in developing three key sustainable livelihood activities: ecotourism, handicrafts, and sustainable use and better marketing of non timber forest products. CoopXixuaú provides the legal basis to develop and formalise the existing activities, for the benefit of people from right along the Jauaperi River. It operates though a social enterprise model: it not only aims for financial returns, but has a fundamental commitment to generating social and environmental benefits.
The cooperative members are exclusively local inhabitants and the aim is to expand and include all those who are interested in working together to generate sustainable incomes, from along the length of the Jauaperi River. The income generated through CoopXixuaú will enable investment in environmental conservation, professional training and sustainable development activities.
The Association is currently developing projects that would help CoopXixuaú to achieve its aims, by promoting a range of sustainable economic activities. For istance, one project in partnership with the Brazilian National Amazon Research Institute (INPA), the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (England), and the Roraima State University, aims to promote sustainable livelihoods and long-term conservation of forest biodiversity and ecosystem services, by training people to understand their resources better, and manage them more sustainably, identifying innovative opportunities for income generation.
Edited by Emanuela Evangelista

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