Chris ClarkChris Clark first came to the Amazon in 1984, and one of the first places he visited was the Rio Jauaperi. He became well acquainted with the people of Rio Jauaperi, and in 1990, they asked for his help in providing health services and an education system for their children. They discussed the ways this could be achieved and came upon the idea of creating the Associação Amazônia. This association was formed around the idea of preserving part of this richly biodiverse area in exchange for funding to improve their standard of living. Everyone became members of the association and the locals sold their land holdings to it. Since then, they have extended the reserve to cover 178,000 hectares. In 2001, work began with the Ministério do Meio Ambiente (Ministry of Environment) to extend the area to where the Rio Jauaperi joins the Rio Negro and up the Rio Branco.

This extended area is becoming the Reserva Extrativista do Baixo Rio Branco-Rio Jauaperi (Extractive Reserve of the Lower Rio Branco-Rio Jauaperi). Chris was in constant contact with Marina Silva, the former environment minister, and Carlos Vicente, her deputy. This is being financed by the Amazon Region Protected Areas program, the G7 Pilot Project for the Amazon. This area falls into the planned Central Amazon ecological corridor being financed by the World Bank. The partners are Ibama (the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources), Centro Nacional de Desenvolvimento Sustentado das Populações Tradicionais (the National Center for Sustainable Development of Traditional Populations), the Roraima Rural Workers Union, and the local communities. The local people of this area are the owners and beneficiaries. Their reward for maintaining the most intact and biodiverse parts of the Amazon is hosting filmmakers, photographers, researchers and other supporters who come to work and experience the region. The association's aim is now to extend the benefits enjoyed by the local people to other communities that will become part of the new extractive reserve.

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