The Suruí Forest Carbon Project was the first REDD project to be developed and run by indigenous people. The Suruí’s Seventh of September territory covers an area of 248,000 hectares on the border of the states of Rondônia and Mato Grosso. The chief of the Suruí, Almir Suruí, has been lauded internationally for his role in promoting the project. He’s been called the Gandhi of the Amazon. In 2013, he won a UN Forest Hero Award.
Michael Schmidlehner is a researcher, NGO founder and climate justice activist in Rio Branco, capital of the Brazilian state of Acre. He submitted this Guest Post about an academic paper looking at a REDD project established on the land of the “Acapú” indigenous people in Brazil.
The controversy surrounding the Suruí Forest Carbon Project in Brazil continues. In January 2015, leaders of the Paiter-Suruí wrote a “Note of Clarification” in which they called for the end of the project. The Metareilá Association, the organisation that runs the Suruí Forest Carbon Project, has now responded with a defence of the project.
The Paiter-Suruí REDD project in Brazil is often held up as a successful indigenous-led REDD project. In December 2014, REDD-Monitor published an English translation of an interview by CIMI (the Indigenous Missionary Council) with Henrique Suruí in which he gives a completely different opinion of the project.
In 2007, Almir Narayamoga Suruí travelled from his home in the Brazilian rainforest to the USA. He met Beto Borges of Forest Trends. Borges told Almir that he could earn money by planting trees, protecting forests and selling carbon credits. The Paiter-Suruí REDD project was conceived.
Two weeks ago, REDD-Monitor posted a letter from indigenous peoples in Acre, Brazil announcing their support for the work of the Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI) in Acre. The letter was part of an on-going discussion in Brazil about REDD in Brazil and its impacts on indigenous peoples.
REDD is at the centre of a tense discussion in Brazil’s indigenous community. Some indigenous people support REDD, others oppose it. Ecosystem Marketplace has jumped into fray, accusing the Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI) in the state of Acre of “intentionally sabotaging a program that has enabled [indigenous peoples] to save their forests”.