ConBio – Campo Largo
Fostering Education and Conservation in Southern Brazil
With support from the Caterpillar Foundation, ConBio Campo Largo fosters the protection of urban natural areas located in the municipality of Campo Largo, Paraná, Brazil by increasing the number of privately owned green urban areas that are adequately managed with sound environmental practices, improving citizens’ knowledge and awareness of conservation, and empowering them to become actively engaged in the protection of their green areas. ConBio Campo Largo replicates the successful methodologies and actions taken in Curitiba for over 12 years through the program called ConBio (Condominio da Biodiversidade or Biodiversity Condominium).One of PADF’s roles within this program is to help identify and strengthen strategic alliances with other local partners to both broaden and deepen the overall impact of the program, as well as help identify additional resources and commitment to biodiversity and sustainable environmental resource management.
The ConBio Campo Largo project has visited 56 properties containing important native vegetation in the Campo Largo Urban region. During the initial visit, the project team collects geo-tagging information on the property and conducts a preliminary assessment of the green areas. The assessment is shared with the property owners and provides suggestions and actions for better conservation methods. 63% of all property owners visited expressed their desire to continue participating in the project and adopting the Program’s suggestions. Subsequent visits involve monitoring of progress of the properties and the donation of native seedlings to be planted in the conserved areas. The project has distributed nearly 200 native seedling species to participating properties so far. In order to further the sustainability of the project, all collected data is then shared with the Campo Largo Environmental Secretariat for incorporation into their database and is used for planning of future environmental activities. The project expects to visit 100 total properties and has already identified an additional 98 properties for future visits.
Progress in numbers to date:
- 56 privately owned areas of native vegetation have been Geo-referenced in the Campo Largo urban region.
- 607 people have participated in project activities.
- The Program has established partnerships with three (3) public organizations and with five (5) private institutions that will provide access to education activities and information regarding possible green areas for survey.
- 49 environmental assessments of privately owned properties have been conducted and 98 prospective visits are planned.
- Twelve (12) landowners have agreed to participate in the ConBio program in the region.
- 113 local elementary and middle school students have been surveyed by the Program, of which 105 (93%) reported an increased understanding of the environment and conservation efforts after participating in the Program’s activities.
- Six (6) training events have been coordinated at the Association of Green Area Property Owners (Associação dos Protetores de Áreas Verdes – APAVE) that brought together property owners from Curitiba and Campo Largo to share experiences and best practices.
In coordination with the Campo Largo Secretariats of Education and Environment, the ConBio project has organized educational photography exhibits and presentations for 113 fourth and seventh grade students and teachers from municipal schools. The events showcase the Araucária Forest, an important ecoregion in the Atlantic Forest biome in Southern Brazil, and the importance of environmental conservation through everyday actions. 93% of students reported an increased understanding of the environment and conservation efforts, highlighting the importance of educational engagement events with municipal school students. The project expects to reach at least 1000 students from the Campo Largo municipality by the end of the 2-year project.
ConBio Campo Largo has been received positively by the general population, the local government, and other non-governmental organizations in Campo Largo. The Campo Largo City Hall, the Environment and Education Secretariats, and the Environmental Institute of Paraná (Instituto Ambiental do Paraná – IAP), have expressed support for the ConBio project and facilitated access to the municipal schools. The Campo Largo Caterpillar staff has coordinated with ConBio to identify employees that are interested in conservation efforts in their own properties.
Under the original ConBio project in Curitiba, a group of participants formed the Association of Green Area Property Owners (Associação dos Protetores de Áreas Verdes – APAVE). APAVE has hosted monthly meetings with 11 new participants from the ConBio Campo Largo in order to share experiences, best practices, information, and resources. The interchanging of information and technical assistance will facilitate project sustainability and the success of new green areas.
ConBio also includes communication and environmental education initiatives with residents, students, property owners and Caterpillar employees and their families. The distributed educational material focuses on the Araucaria Forest, conservation management, native and exotic species, native gardens, conservation areas, environmental law, water resources, environmental problems, conservation in urban environments, among others.
The ConBio project team was invited by the Caterpillar plant in Campo Largo to participate in an Environmental Week activity for Caterpillar employees. During the event, Caterpillar employees were given information regarding conservation initiatives and how they could contribute to protecting the region and its native vegetation. Twenty five (25) Caterpillar employees sought out additional information about the ConBio project and 12 showed interest in having their properties visited by the project and have been scheduled for an assessment. Information about the project and environmental conservation has been shared via the ConBio website, Facebook, and Twitter, having been access over 20,500 times combined through all three platforms in the first nine months.
Saving Brazil's Other Forest
To protect some of the remaining Atlantic Forest, PADF and Caterpillar Inc. invested in a program called the Biodiversity Condominium (ConBio) project with support from SPVS, a leading Brazilian conservation organization. This initiative fosters the protection of urban natural areas in the Municipality of Campo Largo in Brazil's southern Paraná State and helps improve the population's quality of life in relation to their environment.
"This project will protect important green spaces and help further lead to the success and long-term sustainability of Campo Largo," said Otto Breitschwerdt, Caterpillar Campo Largo Facility Manager.
ConBio also aims to teach children, youth and local residents about the natural treasure they have close by and the importance of preserving them. This is why we reached out to more than 1,600 children and 100 landowners to spark their interest and increase their knowledge of conservation.
"Our municipality has so many beautiful geographic landscapes and native areas. We need to preserve these areas for our future generations," said Valdomiro Lourenço, a local landowner.
He and other landowners used to grow potatoes, corn, and beans, in areas that had remnants of native vegetation, something they have stopped doing. Now with the support from the ConBio project, they are planting seedlings of native species as part of the land recovery effort.
Much of what is left of Brazil's once sprawling 2,400-mile long Atlantic Forest has been fragmented into isolated pockets, some smaller than six acres (2.4 hectares). Now more than 2,000 species of animals and 20,000 species of plants are seriously threatened.
"The ConBio program evidences that investing in the environment can also enhance the lives of people, including vulnerable populations, since preserving critical habitats will ultimately improve the quality of life of the people who live near these sensitive areas," said Luisa Villegas, PADF Program Director for South America.
For more information on the application, program details, and other issues, please contact:
Program Director, South America
Organization of American States Building
1889 F Street NW, 2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20006