Sustainable Development in the Brazilian Amazon

////Sustainable Development in the Brazilian Amazon

Sustainable Development in Cazumba-Iracema, Amazon, Brazil

The reserve of Cazumba Iracema is located in the western-most part of Brazil, in the Amazonian area, in the state of Acre. It extends over more than 7500 sq km. The reserve is home to about 350 families who employ traditional methods of extraction of natural robber, commonly known as robber tappers (seringueiros).

The robber tree in the amazon does no grow in plantations. So they need the natural forests alive to be able to extract the latex from the rubber tree, which is where natural robber comes from.

They also use other products from the forest such as Brazil Nuts and Acai Berry. What makes this community so special and the focus of our work, is the fact that they obtain their livelihood from well protected forests. Hence they thrive on conserving forest resources.

Due to the invasive nature of the cattle production in the amazon, the natural forests (and with that the livelihood of the rubber tappers) have been threatened by the expansion of the cattle industry. For that reason, the Brazilian government passed a law to protect several areas of forest under the name of extractive reserves, destined for the extraction of rubber. In these reserves, the forests are protected and sustainably used for the products that can be obtained without cutting the forest down, such as rubber, fruits etc.

The Reserve of Cazumba Iraceman is located in the North Western estate of Acre (please see deatils of the reserve above). Acre has borders with Peru and Bolivia.

The region has two seasons: Dry (“winter”) season July- October with high temperatures during the day (25-30) and cool during night and early mornings. The dry season can have days with low temperature due to polar weather fronts coming from the South.

You arrive to the village by boat, three hours up the river (one of the tributaries of the Amazon) from the nearest town. We coordinate all necessary logistics for your trip, after you arrive to the airport, to ensure your safety.

During your free time in the village you can ride bicycle, go trecking, fishing or accompany the local settlers in their daily work and or recreational activities.

As explained above the development model of robber extraction communities, is perhaps the pinnacle of sustainability, as they have learned to use the resources that the forest give without having to cut it down.

As such the families in this community live from extracting resources from the natural forest, such as fruits and latex (no timber) and improving their local processing methods.

So they extract rubber and produce artesanal objects in the village as well as harvesting Brazil nuts and Acai berry.

There is also small subsistence agriculture of yuca (casava) which is also part of the staple diet.

The work in this project is highly seasonal and it can involved (but it is not limited to)

  • Helping with latex extraction
  • Helping in the artisanal workshop where rubber objects are produced
  • Work in the Acai berry processing plant located in the village
  • Collect Acai berry form the field
  • Collect Brazil Nuts from the forest
  • Help with harvesting and processing of yuca and production of farinha (casava flour).
  • Collect geographic information data in order to map natural resources for management planing.

The accommodation is in the village of Cazumba, in the researcher’s lodge, where there is bedrooms, kitchen, living area, showers and all necessary facilities, although basic; as well as internet connection via wifi.


Food is provided and you can cook or a person is contracted when there are bigger groups. The food is traditional food eaten in the region, hence bread is not abundant but vegetales and some protein are supplied, as well as coffee. You may bring tea if you prefer and also bring some crackers as substitute for bread, which you can buy in town before you travel up the river.

2 weeks     4 weeks       6 weeks          8 weeks

£675           £ 1265           £1682              £ 2395

All projects attract a £250 booking fee.

The price includes: Accommodation, food and transportation from the nearest town to the reserve (up the river) and during work if required.

Your programme fee covers for the cost of your stay in the village, food and transport up the river and supplements the salary of those involved in looking after you while you are there.The booking fee booking covers the cost of coordinating your trip and ensure your safety.We run a mobile phone enquiry line over wahtaspp that is manned 24/7 and you can contact us at any time for support when you are traveling.

  • Cazumba is an amazing place, you will enjoy the privilege of interacting with the villagers and enjoy the simple rural life of the Amazon.
  • You will be able to explore the different forms of livelihood and help in the processing of the different produce, learn about traditional methods for the sustainable use of natural resources.
  •  You will learn Portuguese
  • Will add to your CV skills and experience that will help you stand from the crowd in the job market.

Read about Rosie’s experience here

I had the most amazing time of my life in Cazumba.  I came to do my dissertation research. The experience helped me get my next job as a researcher on forest issues. People are so welcoming and were always looking out for me. Read about my experience here.

I came to Cazumba to teach English. I actually came to do the first pilot of the programme and set the foundations for the next volunteers coming after me. I study Spanish language and know knew little Portuguese, despite that I managed to work with children and adults. there were so keen to learn that  everything I taught was well received. I learned so much as well. I want to follow close this work in Cazumba and hoe to be able to come back again.

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