Protecting the Amazon rainforest

Moju City, Low Tocantins Region, Pará State, Brazil
tonne / mo


Referred to as the lungs of the Earth, the Amazon basin contains 59% of the world’s tropical rainforests and plays a major role in sustaining life on this planet. But 20% of it has been eradicated over the last 50 years and, if this continued deforestation endures, it could cause the Amazon’s tropical climate to dry out. The REDD+ Maísa project addresses the main drivers of deforestation in Belem’s center of endemism and is rated as a Gold Level GL3 project for its “exceptional biodiversity benefits”. These 658,148 hectares in the Amazon jungle constitute one of the largest remaining forest blocks and were selected as a Key Biodiversity Area because of its global significance in conservation efforts. The project aims to keep the forest standing by developing, implementing and monitoring alternative economic activities that benefit over 300,000 people residing in this area. With the use of satellite images to identify possible sources of deforestation, the REDD+ Maísa project prevents an average annual amount of 67.458,1 tonnes of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e) emissions from being released into the atmosphere.

Key benefits

🐝 Intensive biodiversity conservation of unique flora, fauna and forest ecosystems: research was specifically conducted with the fauna in the project area, approaching the main conservation interest taxa, which are under potential pressure or risk, and also those that should be monitored as indicators, namely: mammalian fauna, avifauna, herpetofauna, ichthyofauna, entomofauna with focus on social bees.

🌿 Tackling the underlying socio-economic drivers of deforestation - subsistence agriculture, fishing and charcoal production -  the project brings the alleviation of poverty with sustainable jobs and increased household incomes. 

📈 The positive impact of this project is an annual emission avoidance of 67.458,1 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent units (tCO2e) .

🌳 Agroforestry in non-forest invasive species areas creates a healthier biodiversity with nuts, fruit, timber and root produce.

📚 Education and learning on correct forest protection from invasive species and land management to yield the highest amount of carbon sequestration.

Moju City, Low Tocantins Region, Pará State, Brazil
Size (km)
287.51 km2
Size (ha)
28,752 ha
Project owner(s)
Project coordinators
Multiple proponents
Rainforest Alliance, Inc.
Key supporters
Technical document
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Project story

The Brazilian Amazon Forest – being the largest tropical forest in the world – is one of the main carbon sinks on the planet. Not only does it help in balancing our climate, but it also protects 10% of the world’s biodiversity and serves as a home for thousands of traditional communities. Deforestation, forest degradation and land-use change (including agriculture and cattle raising) contributed to 23% of all accumulated anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the world between 2007 and 2016. 

The Project is located in the State of Pará, Brazil, in the Lower Tocantins, between the Tocantins and Moju Rivers. The Project Area is located within the municipality of Moju and surrounded by the municipalities of Baião, Mocajuba, Tailândia, Goianésia and Breu Branco.

There are eight surrounding communities that are directly or indirectly affected by the project, either by being geographically downstream of the Project Area or providing manpower to Fazenda Maísa, with no communities residing within the Project Area or depending on its natural resources. 

Historically, the region is marked by land conflicts started in the 70s with disputes between farmers, land grabbers, squatters and illegal loggers. The ease of access through the PA-150 highway, lack of public policies, weak law enforcement in controlling deforestation and land regularization, and the beginning of real estate speculation have placed the region within the "Arc of Deforestation" or “Arc of Fire”.

As a REDD+ project, Maísa pursues the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and constantly monitors standing forest and biodiversity impact. Achieving a more stable climate through tackling deforestation in the right way, improving food security and creating sustainable livelihoods are objectives and key results of this project.

No items found.
Social benefits
  • Eight (8) communities were identified in the project's area of influence and were impacted directly or indirectly, as follows: Branquelândia, Alto Apeí, Ituquara, Açaizal Novo, Açaizal Centro, Flexal, Maçaranduba (I and II) and Nossa Senhora do Perpétuo Socorro. There are over 7,000 (seven thousand) families residing in the area, whereas 90% belong to Ituquara, which is characterized as a village.
  • Common to all surveyed communities, the lack of basic public services, such as sanitation, high schools, health centers, trafficable roads and, in some cases, electricity, configure a poverty scenario and high social vulnerability in the region. By education, strengthening of associations and engagement in participatory management models, the social vulnerability of these groups has been steadily decreasing.  
  • Creating opportunities to develop alternative, sustainable and long-term value chains, provides stability for family incomes and avoids residents engaging in illegal logging and charcoal production from native forests, and extensive cattle ranching . 
  • Rural technical assistance, training, research and market access facilitation.
  • Improved access to public services and infrastructure.
  • Greater community awareness of climate change issues and natural resource management that’s increasing their capacity to formulate long-term climate change adaptation plans.
Ecological benefits
  • Mammals are usually the most affected by habitat fragmentation and destruction, leading to serious damages to the functioning of ecosystems, as many of them act as seed dispersers, preys or species at the top of the food chain (predators), regulating the populations of other species.  Moreover, they may be especially interesting to local hunting, as they contribute as a source of minimal animal protein.  44 species of medium- and large-size mammals were identified in the project area, similar to the result of other studies developed for Belém's center of endemism.
  • The avifauna composition is one of the most commonly analyzed aspects when studying the biodiversity of a region. This is because birds are more easily observed in their natural environment, are mostly terrestrial and diurnal, and occupy many ecological and trophic niches in the forest - fully reflecting the conservation status of an ecosystem. Moreover, birds are sensitive to natural or anthropogenic disturbances, which make them an essential aspect to the study of communities and as bio-indicators.  152 species of birds have been registered.
  • The diversity of fish in the Amazon basin is of great importance and concentrates the largest resource of freshwater fish in the world, estimated between 3,500 and 5,000 species.  However, most of the studies developed so far consider only the major rivers and commercially exploited species and still lack studies covering small streams and creeks, which can lead to an underestimated figure related to the Amazon Ichthyofauna resources.
  • In Brazil, there are over 300 known species of native bees and they consist of the main group of visitors and pollinators of the national flora, and between 38% and 90% of plant species in the Amazon depend on them for their reproductive success.  Despite their recognized importance for ecosystems, gene flow assurance, maintenance of a healthy plant community and food resources for others (through the formation of fruits), these bees have been drastically threatened by human activities, mainly by the action of deforestation, fires and predatory exploitation for honey harvesting. As compared to other studies in nearby regions that showed 34 species, a relatively low diversity of only 16 species of native social bees was found in this one.
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