Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Kanthie Athukorala


This paper is a case study of a project entitled Community Skills for a Complex Situation: Managing Mining in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, which is located in the Serra do Brigadeiro Territory of Minas Gerais, Brazil – an area rich in biodiversity that is thought to contain the highly endangered woolly spider monkey (Brachyteles hypoxanthus).

Iracambi, a local non-governmental organization with an international staff, designed and implemented the project. Beginning in 2007, the project is scheduled for completion in the second half of 2011, and is funded by the Inter-American Foundation (IAF). Utilizing mainstream sustainable development, the project seeks to prepare and empower community members to deal with the imminent mining activities which will result from an estimated one billion USD worth of bauxite in the region.

During the course of the project Iracambi has been working to facilitate dialogue between farmers, conservationists, miners and government decision-makers; redefine power relationships through capacity building and education; and achieve the best outcome for the local communities and the land.

This paper examines to what extent the project promotes or hinders sustainable development in the communities that it serves. Furthermore, it looks at what lessons could be learned from the project, and how this new knowledge could be used in practicing development elsewhere in the future.


Natural Resources and Conservation | Natural Resources Management and Policy | Sustainability


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