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Press Relases June 26, 2007

Alcoa and Conservation International Form Partnership to Conserve the Amazon’s Biodiversity

Program Will Support Conservation Units in One of the Richest Areas for Species in the Region Situated Between the Tapajós and Madeira Rivers

BELEM & NEW YORK - Alcoa announced today that its Latin American affiliate Alcoa Aluminio S.A., Alcoa Foundation and Conservation International (CI-Brasil) are launching a program to support conservation of the biodiversity in one of the richest areas for species -- between the Tapajós and Madeira Rivers, in the West of Pará State and the East of Amazonas State, Brazil.

This initiative is recognized by the Ministry of Environment, through the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA), and by the Secretariat of Environment of the Pará State Government (SEMA).

The program will be implemented over five years and will receive R$ 2 million (US$1.03 million) from the partner institutions. The aim of the program is to collaborate on the implementation of conservation units in the region, a strategy which, according to many studies, is considered the most efficient in protecting the biodiversity and restricting deforestation in areas that are socially and economically dynamic.

The initiative is an expansion of a three-year partnership. Since 2004 with the financial support of Alcoa, CI-Brasil has been working in the Amazon National Park in Itaituba, in Pará. “With the work we’ve already done in the Park, we’ve seen that by supporting managers of the conservation units and providing the community with information, training, and technical and financial resources, it is possible to change behaviors and, in no time at all, create a positive movement to conserve the biodiversity in the region. The success of this experiment led to Conservation International, Alcoa and the Alcoa Foundation working together to draw up a program that would also benefit other conservation units in the region,” explains José Maria Cardoso da Silva, vice-president of Science for CI-Brasil.

“Alcoa has a commitment to the sustainable use of natural resources. Through dialogue with the community, promoted everywhere the company operates, but especially when introducing the Juruti Mine in Pará, we are sharing in building a sustainable enterprise that also seeks to conserve biodiversity. The actual implementation of the conservation units that will benefit from the Conservation Program is one of the greatest legacies we can leave for the society of the Amazon,” states Franklin L. Feder, president of Alcoa Latin America.

In the first phase of the program, five conservation units have been selected as priorities for investment: the Tapajós-Arapiuns Hunting and Gathering Reserve, Amazon National Park, Pau Rosa National Forest, Maués State Forest and the Amaná National Forest. These units are practically inter-connected and form the nucleus of a new Biodiversity Corridor in the Amazon that covers almost 10 million hectares (nearly 25 million acres) and is spread over the municipalities of Juruti (PA), Maués (AM), Santarém (PA), Aveiro (PA) and Itaituba (PA).

Conservation Program – The Program will be divided into four components. The aim of the first component is to carry out a diagnosis of the situation of the five conservation units to identify the priority actions for each of them. A detailed institutional map will be created to understand the perceptions of local society with regard to these units and the technical capacity that already exists in the region for the development of conservation projects.

The second component is to support the implementation of the five priority conservation units by allocating technical and financial resources to the unit managers. The managers must submit projects for evaluation and, if approved, they will receive support from the Program.

The third aspect of the Conservation Program is aimed at training local individuals and institutions to develop conservation and sustainable development programs through courses and seminars.

Finally, the fourth component aims to provide technical and financial support for the individuals and institutions that have been trained in accordance with the previous component, so that they may develop their own environmental projects.

“The first and second components of the Biodiversity Conservation Support Program for the Tapajós-Madeira region will be developed during 2007, while the others will start in 2008. CI-Brasil and Alcoa will create a support mechanism for implementation of the conservation units that already exist in this area. The activities will be carried out by environmental bodies with the collaboration of local society,” says Maurício Born, Alcoa’s Health, Safety, Environment and Sustainability Manager.

Sustainable development – According to Maurício Mercadante, director of Protected Areas of the Ministry of the Environment (MMA), the initiative launched by the two organizations is in line with the directives of the Government, which is seeking to promote local and regional development based on the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.

“We want to generate wealth, employment and income by improving the lives of people without destroying the forest, leaving it standing and as untouched as possible from the ecological point of view,” says Mercadante.

Mercadante refers to the experiment that brought together Ibama, CI-Brasil and Alcoa in a project to support the Amazon National Park, which resulted in the construction of a lookout platform and nature trails for use by the general public. “With the passing of the Public Forests Management Law, the National and State Forests started to offer a real opportunity for the full development of the region’s forest economy,” he says. Mercadante underscores that the transformation of this potential into reality will demand investments in planning, training, infrastructure, monitoring and other activities, and he believes that this challenge will only be met if there is a joint and integrated action between government and society. “The initiative of Conservation International and the Alcoa Foundation is an important step in this direction and has the support of the MMA,” he states.

For his part, Valmir Ortega, Para State Secretary for the Environment, says, “The Government of the State of Pará considers this initiative by Conservation International and Alcoa to be a good example of how the corporate sector and the third sector can join together with the aim of contributing to the conservation of the biodiversity of one of the richest places on the planet for various species. This initiative complements the efforts we are making under the leadership of State Governor Ana Júlia to promote the social and economic development of Pará without this leading to the loss of our extraordinary natural capital.”

Local biodiversity – Among the biodiversity of species present in the Tapajós-Madeira region, there are endemic species – found only in this region – such as the Mãe-de-taoca-arlequim (Rhegmathorina berlepschi) [harlequin antbird], an attractive bird found in the undergrowth of the forest that follows the trails of the formigas-de-correição [army ants], and two small primates known as the Sagüi-de-Santarém (Mico humeralifer) [black and white tassel-eared marmoset] and the Sagüi-de-Maués (Mico mauesi) [Maues marmoset]. In addition, there are proven records of populations of species threatened with extinction, such as the ararajuba (Guaruba guarouba) [golden conure], the green and yellow parakeet that depends on extensive stretches of forest for it survival, and the arara-azul (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) [hyacinth macaw].

About Conservation International
Conservation International (CI) was founded in 1987 with the aim of conserving the natural wealth of the planet – our global biodiversity and showing that human society is capable of living in harmony with nature. As a global non-governmental organization, CI operates in more than 40 countries on four continents. The organization uses a variety of scientific, economic and environmental tools, in addition to strategies that help in the identification of alternatives that do not harm the environment. Conservation International has its headquarters in Belo Horizonte-MG. Other offices are strategically located in Brasília-DF, Belém-PA, Campo Grande-MS, Salvador and Caravelas-BA. For further information about CI’s programs in Brazil, visit

About Alcoa Aluminio
Alcoa Alumínio S.A. is a subsidiary of Alcoa Inc., the world’s leading company in the production and transformation of aluminum, which operates in the aerospace, automotive, packaging, construction, transport and industrial markets, and has been in Brazil for 42 years. The Company has 123,000 employees in 44 countries and is a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the fifth time. Alcoa is one of the founder-members of the United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), an association of 10 major North American companies and environmental NGOs, dedicated to working to significantly reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.

About Alcoa Foundation
Alcoa Foundation is a separately constituted nonprofit U.S. corporate foundation with assets of approximately $534 million. Its mission is to actively invest in the quality of life in Alcoa communities worldwide. Throughout its history, the Foundation has been a source of positive community change and enhancement, with nearly $437 million invested since 1952. In 2006, Alcoa and Alcoa Foundation invested a combined total of $42.3 million in community programs in 32 countries, focusing on four areas of excellence: conservation and sustainability, global education and workplace skills, business and community partnerships, and safe and healthy children and families. Alcoa Foundation manages the Alcoa employee volunteer programs ACTION and Bravo! For more information, visit, under Community.

Katrin Olson
Manager, Corporate Communications, CELB


Conservation International’s Center for Environmental Leadership in Business (CELB) provides a new forum for collaboration between the private sector and the environmental community. Created in partnership with Conservation International (CI) and the Ford Motor Company, CELB operates as a division of CI and is governed by a distinct executive board of leaders from the business and environmental communities-engaging the private sector worldwide in creating solutions to critical global environmental problems in which industry plays a defining role. For further information about CELB, please visit


Katrin Olson
[email protected]

 Photo credits for banner image: (Zebras in Botswana) © CI, Chris Brooks