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Sustainable Settlements in the Amazon

Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM)

Project official website
Total project value
R$ 24,397,144.00
Total support amount
US$ 12,587,755.14



Support Incra's settlements, in western Pará, the development of a demonstrative experience of sustainable production and the implementation of payment for environmental services (PSA) to families committed to reducing deforestation


Agrarian reform settlers from the National Institute for Colonization and Agrarian Reform (INCRA)

Territorial scope

The western region of the state of Pará, covering the municipalities of Anapu, Pacajá, Senador José Porfírio, Mojuí dos Campos and Aveiros



The National Institute for Colonization and Agrarian Reform (Incra) has already created and recognized around 9,400 projects for agrarian reform settlements throughout the country.

The settlements can be divided into two groups: (i) those created through land acquired by Incra, in the traditional form, called settlement projects (PA), which include environmentally unique ones; and (ii) those implemented by government institutions and recognized by Incra, for the purpose of access to public policies of the National Agrarian Reform Program¹.

About 8% of the territory of the Amazon states are destined to 3,589 agrarian reform settlements² and the settlements have presented high deforestation rates when compared to the other land categories of the Amazon.

IPAM - Amazon Environmental Research Institute is a non-profit organization founded in 1995, with headquarters in Belém, in the state of Pará, which develops activities with the purpose of promoting a new Amazon development model.

² Source: Ipam publication "Deforestation in Amazon Settlements - History, Trends and Opportunities" 


The Sustainable Settlements in the Amazon project is aimed at developing and implementing a demonstrative model for sustainable agricultural production in small rural properties in the western region of the state of Pará. This seeks to improve the land-title situation and local production, while maintaining the forest standing, generating benefits for the climate and biodiversity, as well as, mainly, fostering a change in the local development model, boosting income and promoting food safety.

To achieve this goal, the project is divided into two components:

Subproject 1: To develop and implement a sustainable production model in small properties located in three settlements in municipalities in the western region of Pará, including activities to systematize and disseminate the experience.

Subproject 2: To pay 350 families living near the BR-230 Transamazon Highway for any deforestation that is avoided or prevented, as well as preparatory efforts to implement land-title and environmental regularization of these family properties.


The project is part of the “sustainable production” (1); “monitoring and control” (2) and “science, innovation and economic instruments” (4) components of the Amazon Fund Logical Framework.

The expected direct effects were defined as follows: "economic activities of sustainable use of forest and biodiversity identified and developed in settlements"; "chains of agroforestry products of settlements with expanded added value"; "expanded management and technical capacity for the implementation of agroforestry systems, forest management activities and agroextractivism production in settlements"; and "expanded access of the settlements to environmental regularization".

Thus, the project was able to make productive activities that keep the standing forest economically attractive, encouraging models that preserve the forest, as well as sequester carbon with recovery of the vegetation cover in deforested areas.

In the "monitoring and control" component, the project increased the access of rural producers to environmental regularization of their properties in the state of Pará by supporting their registration in the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR).

Finally, by using economic instruments aimed at the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, by paying small farmers for any deforestation prevented, the project contributed to the overall objective of the Amazon Fund, “reducing deforestation with sustainable development in the Legal Amazon”.

It should be noted that the project also intended to support the expansion of land areas with valid land tenures near the BR-230 highway; however, this component was reformulated in actions for environmental regularization in this territory, being integrated to the environmental regularization component.

Click on the following image to view its objectives tree, that is, how the project's outputs and linked to the expected outcomes and impact.



Date of approval 11.29.2011
Date of the contract 02.14.2012
Date of conclusion 08.16.2022
Disbursement period 64 months (from the date the contract was signed)


date amount
1º disbursements 09.21.2012 R$4,491,898.55
2º disbursements 11.27.2013 R$3,963,198.92
3º disbursements 01.15.2014 R$588,000.00
4º disbursements 10.14.2014 R$3,435,243.68
5º disbursements 06.26.2015 R$5,622,126.35
6º disbursements 09.28.2015 R$636,055.73
7º disbursements 10.19.2016 R$4,054,094.99
8º disbursements 12.27.2016 R$637,877.00
9º disbursements 12.09.2020 -R$3,213.18
10º disbursements 08.10.2022 -R$17,092.58
Total amount disbursed R$23,408,189.46

Total amount disbursed in relation to the Amazon Fund’s support



The “Sustainable Settlements in the Amazon” project implemented its actions in small rural properties in three agrarian reform settlements, created by Incra in the last decade of the last century, in the state of Pará, namely: (i) (PA) Bom Jardim, designed with a capacity to serve 876 families; (ii) PA Moju I and II, with a capacity to serve 1,590 families; and (iii) PA Cristalino, with a capacity to serve 116 families.

Additionally, it structured and operationalized a payment program for environmental services benefiting families located in other settlements along the Trans-Amazonian highway, in the state of Pará.

The actions consisted of supporting the environmental regularization of the territories, through registration in the CAR; the provision of technical assistance and rural extension (ATER) to families, aimed at increasing productivity in open areas; preparation of use plans for the properties; training to adopt management techniques in forest areas; improvement of productive infrastructure, through the supply of inputs and equipment; the insertion of production in local and institutional markets and the institutional strengthening of organizations representing the settlements with training for their leaders in management and associativism. The following are some of the activities performed.

Management courses were given with over 60 leaders from the supported settlements in attendance, enabling the creation of three support groups dedicated to participatory planning and project implementation.

The georeferencing of 2,710 lots and data were collected to prepare a socioeconomic and environmental assessment, aiming at both planning and analyzing the effectiveness of the project's actions. In partnership with the Federal Rural University of the Amazon, a market study of family farming products was prepared in western Pará, for the purpose of defining the productive activities to be supported by the project. 

Also worth mentioning are the georeferencing and preparation of environmental recovery plans (PRA) for two settlements. Agricultural technicians visited the properties that are part of the project, where the skills of each of the farmers were assessed among a list of activities that could be supported and already identified in the market study.

In addition, several training sessions were held, such as workshops on sustainable management, seminars on productive improvements and access to institutional markets, as well as field days to exchange experiences.

The project supported the environmental regularization of 1,300 properties by registering them in the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR), corresponding to an area of 101 thousand hectares of rural properties where the environmental regularization process has been initiated.

In the payment component for environmental services, a document describing this financial mechanism was prepared, and the project initially included 348 families who began to receive benefits to keep the forest standing. These families were paid in quarterly installments through transfers made by the post office.

The criteria considered in the project for participation in its environmental service payment project were: conservation and/or recovery of forest cover of the lot, conservation and/or recovery of the permanent protection area (PPA) and compliance with the productive improvements agreed upon in its use plans.

Aiming at the implementation of community forest management, forest management plans were developed benefiting three communities of PA Moju I and II, as well as a structure for storing and drying production.

Six hundred and fifty plans for use of the lots in the settlements were prepared and technical assistance was provided to improve agricultural practices. Initially, soil samples were analyzed and subsequently, guidance was provided on soil correction, area preparation, planting, planning for the recovery and rotation of pastures, seedling production, vegetable and fruit tracts, construction of aviaries and tanks for fish farming.

The project also distributed various inputs, such as fertilizer, limestone, wire for fences, agricultural implements and provided leased machine services.  Fifty-seven hectares of mechanical scalers were supported for planting short-cycle crops (corn, rice, beans, etc.); 163 hectares of pastures were recovered by rotating the livestock through the implantation of fences; 69 aviaries were built; cocoa, passion fruit and açaí crops were recovered; 19 tanks were implemented for fish farming and pig farming was supported.

Nurseries were set up to support the recovery of permanent protection areas (PPA) and the restoration of a degraded legal reserve, identified in the plans for using the lots and in the registration process in the Rural Environmental Registry.

One hundred and thirteen hectares were reforested with agroforestry systems (AFSs), promoting production diversification, food security and increased income.

The project contributed to the implementation of 19 small processing structures, four collective and fifteen family ones, for processing cassava, fruits and milk. All initiatives had business plans prepared with project resources.

Free fairs were organized for the products from the settlements in Anapu and Pacajá to be sold, with an average participation of 22 farmers at each fair. The project also participated in the creation of the first Solidarity Trade Network of Tapajós¹. This network directly connected suppliers from PA Cristalino II and surrounding areas to solidarity consumers, and the project made packaging, thermal boxes, baskets for products, Styrofoam and freezers available as well as the creation of a logo, among other resources.

The technical team of the project also supported the families of PA Moju I and II in their re-registration process with the Food Acquisition Program (PAA), which is a government program through which food produced by family farms is purchased.


Final Evaluation


The project activities contributed to the results related to the “sustainable production” (1); “monitoring and control” (2) and “science, innovation and economic instruments” component (4) of the Amazon Fund Logical Framework.

Below are the results of some of the indicators agreed to monitor the expected direct effects.

  • Number of use plans prepared at the level of the property (output indicator)
    Target: 350 | Result achieved: 650 
  • Number of sustainable management workshops (output indicator)
    Target: 9 | Result achieved: 10 
  • Number of settlers trained in sustainable management practices (output indicator)
    Target: 90 | Result achieved: 206 
  • Number of settlers participating in project dissemination activities (output indicator)
    Target: 500 | Result achieved: 1,633 
  • Number of structures to improve the production of the assembled settlements (output indicator)
    Target: 20 | Result achieved: 19 
  • Number of community nurseries built (output indicator)
    Target: 7 | Result achieved: 7 
  • Number of properties with technical assistance support (output indicator)
    Target: 650 | Result achieved: 616 
  • Area reforested with ASF (outcome indicator)
    Target: 90 ha | Result achieved: 113 ha 
  • Area recovered and used for economic purposes (outcome indicator)
    Target: 900 ha | Result achieved: 1,139 ha 
  • Revenue obtained from economic activities of sustainable use (outcome indicator)
    Target: Increase of 30% | Result achieved: Increase of 135%

Regarding the “revenue obtained from economic activities of sustainable use” indicator, the definition of income generation capacity of these activities was adopted, also taking into account the subsistence consumption. The baseline of this indicator was defined from an initial assessment made with 629 families in the 2013/2014 harvest.

To monitor this indicator, a sample of 318 families was selected in the regions where the project operates and their income was monitored in two harvests: 2014/2015 and 2015/2016.  As a result, it was found that there was an increase in the average annual income of families of 70% in the 2014/2015 harvest and 135% in the following harvest.

  • Number of properties with georeferencing and georeferenced forest cover limit (output indicator)
    Target: 650 | Result achieved: 2,710 
  • Number of properties with georeferenced mapping carried out and registered in the CAR (outcome indicator)
    Target: 350 | Result achieved: 1,300 
  • Area of rural properties registered in the CAR (outcome indicator)
    Target: 58,955 ha | Result achieved: 101,657 ha 
  • Number of payment contracts for environmental services signed (output indicator)
    Target: 350 | Result achieved: 256

The project initially contracted 348 families to pay for environmental services. However, the number of beneficiary families that joined the payment program for environmental services decreased throughout the project due to several factors, such as voluntary termination, non-compliance with agreed upon targets or death of the main beneficiary.

  • Organized seminars (output indicator)
    Target: 4 | Result achieved: 4

It should be noted that one of the activities carried out by the project was the production of a book entitled “Sustainable Settlements in the Amazon – Family Agriculture and Environmental Sustainability in the largest Tropical Forest in the World”¹, which reports the experience of its execution and the results achieved.

A documentary video was also produced², in addition to a final assessment seminar of the project, which was attended by 112 people.

As can be seen, most of the targets foreseen in the project have been achieved and, in some cases, even exceeded.



The project established partnerships with dozens of private and public institutions. The strategic partnerships established with the Live, Produce and Preserve Foundation (FVPP) and Incra deserve to be highlighted.

The partnership with FVPP was established through a Cooperation Agreement, which aimed to strengthen rural family production and a sustainable policy for agrarian reform settlements in the Amazon.

The FVPP already worked in the region object of the project's actions and thanks to this local experience can give important support to the actions developed, having even participated in the selection process of the beneficiary families, since it maintained contact with them. 

The partnership with Incra had been formalized in 2012, through a Technical Cooperation Agreement, which aimed to build parameters for the development of settlements in the Legal Amazon.

INCRA participated in the project planning and its execution, with its technicians attending the meetings held with the communities of the settlements, the issuance of Declarations of Aptitude to Pronaf (DAP) and the availability of documents necessary to prepare the settlement recovery plans (PRAs), among other activities.

Risks and lessons learned

In some communities, there were difficulties in establishing a partnership with families. This fact occurred due to the commitments not fulfilled and expectations of improved living conditions not fulfilled by other agents. This initial resistance was overcome with dialogue, involvement of families from the communities in the discussions about the project and with participation of the settlement leaders in the project's support groups. 

For operationalization of the payment system for environmental services, Correios´s Electronic Mail Voucher was assessed as the best option, which allows money transfers. Nevertheless, technical challenges were faced that led to delays in transferring the resources. One of the solutions found, for example, was to develop an interface in the system for registering producers and their resource transfer data in a format compatible with that used by Correios.

Sustainability of results

Difficulty in accessing bank credit and the precarious logistic infrastructure in the Amazon region remain as bottlenecks to the consolidation of family farming and small enterprises on a sustainable basis.

Nevertheless, the supported project followed a planning and execution structure that can serve as a reference for other interventions that intend to operate in settlements, encompassing assessment, planning, environmental regularization, improvement of agricultural production and development of marketing channels of local production associated in a pioneering manner with economic incentives through payment for environmental services.

In addition to the favorable impacts already achieved in the communities benefited by the project, it is believed that the sustainability of its results will be felt over time, as the innovations implemented and the lessons learned from this demonstrative experiment of sustainable production will be incorporated by public policies, as well as by initiatives of other organizations that work with agrarian reform settlements.


In this area we offer some PDF files with the main publications generated by the project. Click the filename to start the download.