Varzea Project

20 years building a co-management system of natural resources in the Lower Amazon.


Sylvia Mitraud and David McGrath


The Varzea Project, implemented by Ipam between 1994 and 2013 has reached and in some aspects has surpassed the vision of its original objectives. First, the co-management system shared by communities and government implemented in the Santarém varzea and disseminated to Lower Amazon municipalities supports the integrity of the varzea lake system, the typical ecological unit of the Amazon floodplain. Second, it legalizes the mixed property regime traditionally used by local rural residents (ribeirinhos) according to natural resources and their use. Lastly, it integrates in a single legal instrument agreements and other management instruments that regulate natural resource and land management on the varzea.

This achievement is the result of a 20-years-long process of construction carried out by Ipam, its partners, and other civil society and government actors, and for which WWF’s continued support was crucial. This document highlights core elements of this process.