Fellow Since 2000
SALVEASERRA-Grupo de Proteção Ambiental da Sierra da Concór
This profile was prepared when Roberto Lamego was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2000.
The New Idea
Roberto is promoting the spread of agro-forestry systems directed at environmental, economic, and social recovery in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Farmers there have been practicing agriculture that degrades the land and decreases productivity. Roberto has developed ecologically sustainable alternatives that are economically attractive to growers, and is teaching farmers and ranchers the economic benefits of growing trees for harvest. His system employs species with both short- and long-term cycles to provide current and future income to farmers. The newly forested regions also serve as a buffer for the old growth portions of the Atlantic Forest, which are being destroyed through burning and felling, conversion to pasture, and agriculture. Roberto believes that if farmers planted trees with high economic value, they would have a greater incentive to protect their land from fire and felling. To serve organizations and groups interested in research, experimentation, and sustainable and innovative land use, Roberto has established the Center for Regional and Agro-Forestry Technology (CETAR) in the mid-Paraíba do Sul River Valley. Robert plans to use the spread of agro-forestry to generate understanding about environmental conservation and sustainable development.