sábado, 8 de abril de 2017


Existe uma versão em inglês do "bestseller" do Prof. Antonio Carlos Diegues, O Mito Moderno da Natureza Intocada. Esta edição de 1998 está disponível em pdf (TEXTO COMPLETO) no site do NUPAUB-USP. Segue o sumário em inglês.

Among some Brazilian conservationists and Governmental
Agencies, such as IBAMA (Brazilian Institute for Environment), there
is still the concept that protected areas (National Parks, Ecological
Stations) should be empty spaces, with no human dwellers.
According to the existing law, the presence of any human group,
traditional or not, is a threat to conservation and therefore, traditional
communities living in areas before the establishment of the
restrictive protected areas should be expelled. It is known however
that the traditional communities (mainly artisanal fishermen,
riverine and extractive groups) have lived for long time and due to
their type of livelihood are, to a large extent, responsible for the
conservation of the area. In many cases, the expulsion of these
groups has induced the arrival of powerful economic groups such
as sawmill processors, land speculators that are responsible for
the degradation of protected areas.
In some cases, after the transfer of the traditional population to
the surrounding regions, the protected area is considered to belong
the government environmental authorities and not to the original
dwellers. In this case, very often, the expelled traditional groups
also start predatory practices. In the cases these communities have
not been officially expelled, the constraints on the use of natural
resources are so restrictive that part of the population migrates in
order to make their living elsewhere.
In order to understand the cause of this unjust treatment against
traditional populations it is important to understand the origins of
the North-American conservationism concerning the creation of
national parks in the late 19th century, when the Yellowstone Park
was created. These ideas have deeply influenced the establishment
of national parks in Brazil.
In the second half of the 19th century, industrialization and
urbanization in U.S.A. were an advanced process, and colonization
was going on in the western regions. However, in that period there
were vast empty or wild areas. Conservationists, like Muir, Thoreau,
Marsh were influential in putting aside these areas for recreation
and admiration of natural beauty by urban population. This
ideology of “wilderness” considered that there is an inverse
relationship between human action and the well-being of the natural
environment. The natural environment and the urban world
were viewed as enemies. In this context, mountains and forested
regions and related wildlife were considered as wilderness, an
area enhanced and maintained in the absence of people. There
areas were seen as pristine environments, similar to those that
existed before human interventions. Very few north-American
conservationists considered that indians were part of the
“wilderness”. George Catlin was an exception and suggested that
not only the grazing lands but also the buffaloes and the indians
should be protected.
These ideas have deeply influenced the first Brazilian
conservationists. Vast areas were considered “empty” and “wild”,
although most of them were sparsely populated by traditional
communities of small scale fishermen, shifting cultivators, extractive
groups. These human groups were not so common in the areas
proposed as national parks in the US. Very often parts of the tropical
forests in Brazil were and in some case still are maintained in a
“wild” state because of the type of livelihood of the traditional
population that need to use the natural resources in a wise way in
order to survive. However, because of imported conservationist ideas
these traditional human groups should be transferred, by law, from
the land their ancestors have inhabited for a long time. Recent
studies undertaken by IUCN (Amend, 1992) have shown that only
14% of the national parks in Latin America are inhabited and
around 50% of them have traditional dwellers (small farmers,
artisanal fishermen). According to the same study inside or around
80% of the Brazilian national parks there are human communities
that use natural resources. The NUPAUB/USP — Research Center
on Human Populations and Wetlands in Brazil is undergoing an
overall survey on traditional communities and protected areas in
the Atlantic Forest. In the first phase, four states (São Paulo, Paraná,
Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo) are studied. Only in São Paulo
in 40% of the parks there is population (traditional or not) living
inside the protected areas.
Conservationist ideas concerning the role of traditional
populations have evolved, as it can be seen from the various
international meetings of IUCN — World Conservation Union in
the last 20 years. Many Brazilian conservationists however opposed
any change concerning the need for maintaining traditional
population in their habitat. Since the IUCN Meeting in Delhi and
particularly in the IV International Congress on National Parks and
Protected Areas, in Caracas (1992), called Peoples and Parks, the
positive role of traditional population in national parks
conservation has been recognized. Deep knowledge of the
ecosystem, long-standing sustainable management practices,
dependence on the use of natural resources, ancestral territorial
rights were recognized as important arguments to maintain and
associate traditional communities with protected areas management.
Recent studies (Balée, 1988; Gomez-Pompa, 1971, 1972; Posey,
1987; Brown, 1992) have shown the role of the traditional
communities (indians, small-scale fishermen, traditional peasants)
in conserving flora biodiversity in the tropical forests. These
researchers claim that it is important to take into consideration the
knowledge and expertise of these populations in conserving
biodiversity. These studies are relevant as today conservation of
biodiversity has become one of the most important functions of the
protected areas.
The acceptance of the presence and awareness of the contribution
of traditional population to national parks conservation is growing
among conservationists and researchers in Brazil, in spite of the
fierce opposition of some governmental and non-governmental
sectors. The creation of the extractive reserves, result of the struggle
of the rubber-tappers (seringueiros) is an important step to the
recognition of the role of the traditional communities. Other
categories involving the contribution of traditional population
should also be added to the existing protected area system managed
by IBAMA. NUPAUB/USP is proposing a new category entitled:
Ecological and Cultural Reserve as a Strategy to Protect both Biological
and Cultural Diversity.
A new system of protected areas (Sistema Nacional de Unidades
de Conservação) is being proposed but unfortunately this
discussion is restricted to narrow conservationist circles. In the
first proposal made by the IBAMA there is barely a place for the
traditional population in the system, and this should be changed.
The new system is an important issue and should not be handled
only by a few conservationist agencies. It should be an issue of
interest to be thoroughly discussed within the Brazilian civil society.

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