This grant is in support of the New York Botanical Garden's (NYBG) ongoing initiative to improve forest management plans for public and private timber concessions in the Brazilian Amazon. Last year, a one year grant to NYBG enabled the organization to work with Brazil's Forest Service and Ministry of Education to develop training courses that would standardize the naming and identification of the thousands of timber species local woodsmen (mateiros) must regularly recognize. Though the Forest Service has well-established principles of sustainable management to which all national forests must adhere, the high rate of species misidentification within each parcel undermines the country's efforts to achieve sustainable forest management.
With the new field training manual completed, this additional grant from the Tinker Foundation will supporting NYBG to train a first cohort of concessions’ field staff. The courses will focus not only on applied training for the woodsmen, but also on improving their prospects for employment through certification and listing on a national register. NYBG will work with the Brazilian Forest Service on a rigorous certification exam for mateiros that have successfully completed the course work. New rules from the Forest Service will require that concessionaires hire mateiros from this registry in order to qualify the accuracy of their forest inventories. Together, NYBG and the Brazilian Forest Service intend to nationalize the training program.