Suruí Forest Carbon Project Achieves Climate Validation

June 4, 2012

The Paiter Suruí -- an indigenous tribe in the Brazilian Amazon -- has become the first indigenous group to receive validation under two emerging global carbon market standards, designed to ensure ecological integrity while benefiting local communities. The Suruí Forest Carbon Project (SFCP) was validated by the Rainforest Alliance and partner Imaflora against the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Alliance Standard 2nd Edition, Gold Level standard as well as the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS).

By providing communities like the Suruí with an economic incentive to conserve their forests, climate validation programs serve the goals laid out in the first Rio Earth Summit. By conserving large areas of tropical forest -- that otherwise would be deforested -- the Suruí can access the market for carbon credits. Companies looking to offset their carbon emissions can buy credits from projects like SFCP, which reduce emissions. Forest carbon projects provide a successful platform for incentivizing both forest conservation and climate change mitigation -- urgent focal points of the upcoming Rio+20 Earth Summit in Brazil.

“The validation of the Suruí carbon project demonstrates that it is possible for indigenous groups to develop, under their own initiative, a carbon project that follows all national and international applicable safeguards, including what is most important for indigenous groups: the free, prior and informed consent,” said Mauricio Voivodic, executive director at Imaflora. “This project sets an example for other indigenous groups who are looking for opportunities with the carbon markets.”

Located in the Brazilian Amazon, the SFCP covers an area of 79,059 acres (31,994 hectares) of land in the Sete de Setembro Indigenous Territory (TISS) -- an area under intense deforestation pressure as a result of agricultural conversion. In the region, more than 5.9 million acres (2.4 million hectares) were deforested between 2000 and 2009. Over the next 30 years, the SFCP aims to prevent 33,544 acres (13,575 hectares) of tropical forests from being cleared and avoid the emission of 7,423,806 tCO2e into the atmosphere, while helping to preserve the lifestyle and traditions of the Paiter Suruí.

“The Suruí truly led the process and decision-making for their own carbon project to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) and are doing it to the highest standards,” said Jeff Hayward, director of the climate program at the Rainforest Alliance. “This marks a real milestone and serves as a noteworthy example that forest communities, especially indigenous peoples, can chart their own destiny to design and manage successful, effective REDD+ projects.”

The VCS is the leading standard in the international voluntary carbon market for the quantification of climate change benefits, while the CCB project standards ensure that carbon projects also produce benefits for local communities and biodiversity.

The Rainforest Alliance and Imaflora played a significant role in the validation of this project, ensuring that adequate safeguards within the REDD+ project design were met, and that the project met the most rigorous standards available for REDD+ assessments. As the Rainforest Alliance continues its mission to help developing countries and local communities implement long-term solutions to address the effects of climate change, this project serves as a benchmark and demonstrates how to implement effective REDD+ projects in indigenous communities.