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New program to compensate poor for environmental protection

September 13, 2011
"We are guardians of the forest, but this will only happen if it remains standing. Incentive is important because we assign an economic value to nature. It's as if it were compensation for conservation,"
- Manuel Cunha, president of the National Council of Extractive Populations of Amazonia

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has introduced a new program, Bolsa Verde (Green Allowance), to compensate the poor for environmental protection, reports Globo News.

Eighteen thousand families living in extreme poverty in the Brazilian Amazon are expected to benefit in the first stage of the program.

"We are guardians of the forest, but this will only happen if it remains standing. Incentive is important because we assign an economic value to nature. It's as if it were compensation for conservation," Manuel Cunha, president of the National Council of Extractive Populations of Amazonia (formerly the National Council of Rubber-Tappers) told Globo News. He believes at least 200,000 Amazonian families eventually may qualify for benefits.

The Bolsa Verde will provide R $300 (U.S. $180) every three months to caboclo families (traditional riverine people) living in Brazil's national forests or sustainable extractive reserves who currently have monthly incomes below R$70 (U.S. $40). In exchange, the families will pledge not to deforest illegally or poach.

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