Amazon Rio I – Local Communities

Amazon Rio I


Resident populations in the Amazon Rio I reserve are known as caboclas and are divided into fifteen communities: Urucury, Água Azul, Vista Alegre, Boa Esperança, Santa Eva, Santa Maria, Pandegal, Democracia, Jatuarana, Terra Preta do Ramal, Kamayuá, São José do Miriti, São João, Ponta Grossa, Terra Preta do Rio Manicoré and Mocambo.

The dwellings are built preferentially facing the river and are constructed on stilts about one meter above the ground. They are usually built of wood and roofed with asbestos or zinc shingles, clay or straw. Few are made of concrete and the poorest families build houses with walls and roofs of straw. In floodplain areas, when the annual flooding is higher than expected, families have to raise their floors and in severe cases are forced to abandon their homes.

In June of 2013 a review was conducted on the number of households, families and overall population in 14 of the 15 communities surrounding the Amazon Rio I reserve. A total of 1,750 people were identified and the most populous communities were shown to be: Vista Alegre, Jatuarana, Democracia and Água Azul.

Almost every community in the surrounding area has an elementary school – up to the fourth grade – that falls under the authority of the Municipality of Manicoré; with the exception of the communities: Santa Eva, São João, and Ponta Grossa,. The main educational centers are located in Democracia and Água Azul and offer distance education with High School classes taught via televised transmissions at night. The communities of Vista Alegre, Santa Maria, Urucury, Mocambo and Jatuarana have up to the fifth grade of elementary school. There are education programs for young people and adults in four communities: Democracia, Jatuarana, São José do Miriti and Mocambo, although often not consistently offered.

Community health workers and midwives are typically responsible for community healthcare. Almost every community has health workers, with the exception of the communities of Santa Maria, Pandegal, São João, and Ponta Grossa – although this last one, due to its proximity to Manicoré, has easy access to health services. The only clinic available is located in Jatuarana, but it is not currently operational. Health workers use their own residences, offering a room for emergency care. In more severe cases the health worker accompanies the patient to Manicoré. Generally, residents complain of the lack of support from the Government in providing medicine and the lack of training among health workers.

Most communities, except for Democracia, Vista Alegra, Boa Esperança, Pandegal, and Água Azul use river or igarapé (small tributary) water for human consumption and cooking, very often without proper treatment. This situation significantly raises the occurrence of waterborne diseases, especially among children. Furthermore, most families dig shallow trenches to store water, bringing serious risks of contamination. The most common diseases are endemic, or related to sanitation and nutrition.

Every community has a president for the Community and Church Association, who is chosen by the locals. Community leaders, who can have more than one leadership position, have very defined obligations and are respected for their ability to mediate internal conflicts and to represent the interests of the community with external institutions. They organize parties and seek partnerships to develop social and productive projects that benefit all residents.

As occurs in other regions of the Amazon, these people engage in various activities to assist vulnerable or at-risk community members, to increase food safety and improve the quality of their lives. They share their time between extractivist, agricultural, fishing and hunting activities. Their cultivation and harvesting practices are predominantly traditional, based upon a rich native heritage.

The communities maintain strong ties to agricultural activities, especially the cultivation of cassava used as flour, as well as banana and watermelon, and the extraction of non-timber forest products such as Brazil nuts and to a lesser degree açaí, tucuman, rubber and copaiba oil. Meanwhile, the community of Pandegal is exceptional as they engage heavily in mining, though extractivism is also practiced. Apart from agriculture and forestry, governmental aid in the form of social security benefits are important sources of income for these communities.

Despite the wide variety of activities, most families consider the trade in Brazil nuts as their main activity, especially in the communities of São José do Miriti, Democracia, Boa Esperança, Jatuarana, Urucury, Santa Eva and Terra Preta, in which Brazil nuts are harvested preferentially from the Rio Amapá reserve and from the Amazon Rio I sustainable reserve.

Currently, all the communities surrounding the Amazon Rio I sustainable reserve have associations that form a Council of Agro-Extractivist Associations of Democracia (Conselho das Associações Agroextrativistas de Democracia – CAAD), which in turn is linked to the Council of Agro-Extractivist Associations of Manicoré (Conselho das Associações Agroextrativistas de Manicoré – CAAM) and to COVEMA, responsible for the purchase, processing and marketing of nuts in the region.


Here is attached a report with descriptions regarding the number of families and ages of each member in 13 different villages.