Proambiente in Rio Capim: An Abandoned PES Program and Its Effects on Environmental Consciousness

Home Institution

College of William and Mary

Publication Date

Fall 2010

Program Name

Brazil: Amazon Resource Management and Human Ecology


This paper considers the lasting effects of Proambiente among familial farmers in the Rio Capim region of Northeastern Pará. As a ‘Payment for Ecosystem Services’ (PES) program, Proambiente worked in nearly a dozen Amazonian communities to compensate familial producers for their conservation of important ecosystems services, including carbon sequestration, watershed management and biodiversity protection. In the Rio Capim region, farmers were compensated with technical assistance in converting to more sustainable agricultural practices. Yet in 2008, only several years after beginning operations as a government program, Proambiente was brought to a sudden end. This study sought to determine whether the closure of Proambiente negatively affected participants’ adherence to the environmental ideas and sustainable practices that the program sought to instill. The researcher conducted semi-structured interviews and site visits in Rio Capim to ten former Proambiente subjects and ten subjects noted by local officials to have independently adopted similar practices and beliefs. The paper concludes that the sustainable practices and environmental consciousness that many participants gained under Proambiente were not affected by the program’s sudden abandonment.


Agricultural Science | Agriculture | Civic and Community Engagement | Energy Policy | Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Environmental Policy | Natural Resources and Conservation | Other Earth Sciences | Sustainability | Water Resource Management

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