About fifteen rural producers in the municipality of Engenheiro Paulo de Frontin received this Monday (20) R$ 47,372.94 in Payment for Environmental Services (PSA). Remuneration for environmental conservation and recovery services is part of the Water and Forest Producers (PAF) program of the Guandu-RJ Committee, developed in the Sacra Família sub-basin, in partnership with the Engenheiro city halls Paulo de Frontin, Mendes and Vassouras, with the operation of AGEVAP and execution of the NGO Crescente Fértil. The objective is to increase the forest cover in the basin, which supplies nine million people in the state, contributing to the natural production of water. Directors of the Guandu-RJ Committee and Mayor José Manuel Rodrigues Artemenko attended the ceremony at the Morro Azul hotel.
Among the main challenges for the management and management of the Guandu hydrographic region is the loss of forest cover, which accelerates the degradation of soils and, consequently, of water resources. The PAF is a strategy of the Committee for the efficient and sustainable management of water resources, being one of the first initiatives in the country to use the PES as a management instrument directly related to the supply of hydrological services. Developed since 2009, the program pays back financially to producers who generate environmental services that benefit the ecosystem and, consequently, society.
Engenheiro Paulo de Frontin’s producers received values ranging between five hundred (minimum remuneration) and seven thousand reais. Payment is calculated according to the conserved or recovered forest area. To promote environmental gains, participants have full technical and operational support from PAF. The technicians visit the properties and prepare an individual plan and, from there, perform services to promote the ecosystems. About 40 hectares of planting were carried out, equivalent to forty soccer fields, in addition to maintenance services, such as installing fences, firebreaks and using gel to hydrate the soil. Rather than generating income for local producers, the PAF causes a transformation in the way these people look and deal with the environment. Participants become true environmental agents, and understand how important this work is to society as a whole. “My farm had a pasture area that is now undergoing environmental recovery. We needed this push, this support, to bring awareness of the importance of recovering degraded areas. The PAF arrived at a good time and, more than the financial retribution, it brought a new meaning to us”, said Sakae Kagoharo, 72-year-old rural producer, owner of the Cachoeira Pedras Lisas farm, participating in the PAF in the municipality.
Work in Engineer Paulo de Frontin, Mendes and Vassouras began in 2018 (PAF-Sacra Família) with an intense work that included the study, mobilization and selection of properties, among other steps. Today, the program already has 41 participants. All receive support for environmental conservation and recovery, and payment for environmental services, according to the results obtained. “Today is the culmination of the project and a demonstration of the environmental vocation of the municipality, which has about 51% of its territory covered by forest. The city government intends to expand the PSA in Paulo de Frontin and further increase the forest cover, preserving the springs that, in addition to all environmental benefits, generate local development with tourism and new production”, highlighted José Márcio Machado, secretary of environment and defense civil.
Mayor José Manuel Artemenko highlighted the municipality’s water wealth and the importance of the environment for local development: “we have about six waterfalls within a radius of six kilometers from the city center. In addition to water for society, this wealth shows how Engineer Paulo de Frontin is an environmental and tourist power, and this must be preserved and enhanced. We are going to work alongside the Committee and other organizations in this and other projects that promote the environment and sustainability”, he highlighted.
Paulo de Tarso Pimenta, General Director of the Guandu-RJ Committee, stated that the collegiate’s Strategic Plan for Water Resources provides for this and other initiatives aimed at improving the quality and availability of water in the region and municipality: “beyond that from the PAF, Engineer Paulo de Frontin will receive the basic and executive projects of sanitary sewage in the rural and peri-urban areas of the municipality. This project directly impacts the quality of life of the rural producer and the preservation of water resources and all biome. The project provides the best collective and individual solutions, from an environmental and economic point of view, and will give the correct destination to domestic sewage from these areas, preserving the environment.”
In all, the PAF has already resulted in the conservation and environmental recovery of more than five thousand hectares of Atlantic Forest in the entire basin. The program continues to expand and, based on a partnership with Embrapa Agrobiologia, also contemplates the implementation of demonstration units of the Agroforestry System (SAF), combining the process of environmental restoration with the generation of income for rural landowners. The idea is to optimize production processes, reducing environmental impacts. All these services are implemented by the Guandu-RJ Committee at no cost to the participating owners.
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Beneficiaries are participating in the Producers of Water and Forest program, carried out in partnership with the municipal government.