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The Project Summary

Central aim

The project Forest Partnerships aims to evaluate the motivations, opportunities, problems and consequences of trade partnerships or agreements established between forest communities and corporations, for the commercialization of Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs).


Trade in non-timber forest products, such as fruits, oils, fibers and other animal or vegetable parts, has frequently been proposed as a strategy that may avoid deforestation while improving the livelihoods of forest communities. Among other things, advocacy in such a win-win solution has stimulated society demand for environmentally and socially responsible products, leading to the expansion of niche markets known as “fair trade” or “ green markets”. Although civil society organizations were initially at the forefront of the establishment of such deals, presently there is an escalating number of corporations that are independently establishing agreements with forest communities. Increased control of forested lands by communities, raised demand in natural products and the proliferation of corporate policies of social responsibility are at the base of such raised interest. Yet, despite the growing number of corporate-community agreements, we still know little about their effects, potentialities and limitations in relation to the corporations, the communities and the forests where they live in. We therefore still do not know if and when these agreements are a viable and valuable alternative, if and how each partner may benefit from the deal and how the successes can better be fostered or improved.


The study evaluates the motivations, opportunities, problems and results of ongoing corporate-community partnerships at both the level of extractivist and indigenous communities and corporations. To do that, we follow two strategies
The first strategy consists in evaluating, by means of data periodically gathered in the field, the context of four partnerships in a total of five communities (described in the link “CASE STUDIES”). Data gathered at this level allow us to evaluate aspects such as incomes, the distribution of benefits, the effects to the traditional use of natural resources, the relationship between commercialization and the time allocated to other commercial or traditional activities, the effects over traditional sharing practices, among others.

The second strategy consists in the evaluation of the results of company-community partnerships in a larger set of cases, as well as the comparison with those situations whereby the commercialisation of non timber forest products occurs in the absence of partnerships. At this level, the study is based on expert knowledge and therefore information gathered from those people or professionals involved with a specific community and for a considerable period of time in the research or the daily implementation of the commercialization of non timber forest products. Data at this level allow us to evaluate aspects such as the financial benefits, the relationship with companies, the viability of implementing monitoring practices, the role of diversification, among others. This strategy is described in the “Expert Panel” link.

Programa de Pós-graduação em Ciência Ambiental da USP (PROCAM - USP)
Rua do Anfiteatro, 181 - Colméia Favo 14 - 05508-900 - Cidade Universitária (SP) - Brasil
Tel.: 55 11 3091-3235 - Fax: 55 11 3091-3330 - email - parcerias.florestais@gmail.com