Instituto Juruá is a non-profit organisation formed by conservationists and researchers in close partnership with community leaders and local associations along the Juruá River, in the heart of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest.
Instituto Juruá provides financial and technical support for community-based initiatives of natural resource management along the Juruá River, Brazil, and offers capacity building opportunities for local communities to help them sustainably manage their natural resources and protect their territory. The team conducts groundbreaking scientific research, implements pioneering conservation projects and offers game-changing education and training opportunities.
Instituto Juruá works with local organisations to design and implement community-protected lakes and fluvial beaches along the Juruá River. This work benefits local populations of commercially valuable pirarucu, also called arapaima, and freshwater turtles (Podocnemis spp), while increasing food security and sovereignty, income generation, infrastructure, and capacity-building opportunities of local communities.
Arapaima is an impressive fish species which grows up to a massive three metres long, can weigh up to 180 kilograms and can even breathe air. Due to its size, taste and texture when barbequed, Arapaima can replace beef in Amazonian communities and is intrinsically linked to their cultures. This means that by providing a sustainable source of these fish, beef consumption can be reduced, hence reducing greenhouse gas emissions both through reduced deforestation and directly from the cows.
The results of Instituto Juruá’s work so far have been extremely promising. Instituto Juruá’s community-protected lakes and beaches projects have generated alternative and sustainable income for more than 200 rural families, increased arapaima numbers 55-fold, increased migratory bird abundance 83-fold and recorded 58 times more nests of the South American river turtle within the project area.
Synchronicity Earth’s Freshwater Programme is now supporting Instituto Juruá in expanding this support and conservation approach to 10 additional rural floodplain communities, 24 new lakes and eight new fluvial beaches, as well as the development of a podcast that creates a global platform to raise awareness of the Juruá River’s biodiversity and local communities.
The inspiring work by Instituto Juruá’s General Director João Campos-Silva was previously awarded the Rolex Conservation Award in 2019, and he was recently named as one of CNN International’s Environmental heroes to inspire you in 2021.