Assignment 4 - tree - University of Colorado Boulder

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Assignment 4: Tree Debate, Tambopata Forest Management
This assignment needs to be 1 page (no more than 2 pages), typed, double or one and one half
spaced, 11 or 12pt font. It needs to be completed for recitation the week of November 7th. This
assignment will also serve as a basis for a debate to be held in your recitation that same week.
You will be graded both on the quality and content of your written answers as well as your
performance in the debate.
The question
This week you will examine the question: Can the different stakeholders of Tambopata come
to an agreement on how to use the forest? What sort of plan would work best for the
The puzzle
The Tambopata Rainforest in Peru is one of the most biologically diverse and least disturbed areas
on the planet. Ecologists want to save this area, but most local residents see Tambopata as a poor,
isolated region of Peru, and they are eager to harvest the region’s timber, gold, and oil, and farm the
region’s vast lands. Meanwhile, local indigenous people see their very survival threatened by both
conservationists and pro-development groups. Peruvian officials are trying to balance biodiversity
protection with economic development in Tambopata via land-use zoning and have invited the below
stakeholders to a roundtable (your debate) to work out how to zone (utilize) the land. Specifically, they
are zoning the 272,000 ha of land within Tambopata National Reserve (TNR), an area intended to both
protect biodiversity and allow for sustainable resource use.
The Positions (with sample participants, see stakeholder descriptions
The positions for the assignment and debate are as follows, your TA will assign you a general
position, which will be your team. You will be responsible for working with this team to develop
an argument for the debate to advance your interests in the forest; however, the work on the
paper needs to be your own to avoid plagiarism. Your arguments should be based on the
different perspectives we learned in the beginning of the course. Each perspective offers you
some critique of the others that will be presented. To make things more specific and personal
you can adopt the persona of one of the individuals detailed at the end of this document. They
are also listed under the general team names below. You should work with other characters on
your team to get your points across in the debate.
A. Conservation
Ecotourism operator from Rainforest Expeditions
Conservation biologist from Conservation International, Washington, D.C.
WE (Wisconsin Electric Power Company) executive, Milwaukee, WI
B. Indigenous
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Ese‘eja community member (indigenous person)
Ribereño community member
Agustin Achuni is a leader of (LeaderFE NAMAD) the Local Federation of Native People
of Madre de Dios
C. Commercial Farmers
Biofuel consultant
Industrial soybean producer from Brazil
D. Timber/Mining
Owner of Madera Grande, a big logging company based in Lima
Small-scale logger based in Puerto Maldonado
Mobil-Exxon executive, Dallas, TX
Small-scale gold miner
E. Colonists
Castañero (Brazil nut harvester)
Colonist recently arrived from Andes
Leader of FADEMAD: Federation of Agriculturalists of Madre de Dios
What you need to do
To explore this question, you will use the concepts and ideas brought up in lecture and in your textbook
since the beginning of the course. This is your opportunity to apply conceptual tools you learned in the
first part of the course to another real-life puzzle. You should review and start your research for this
debate by reading Chapter 10, Trees. You may also need to draw from other chapters to review
perspectives we have read about such as the market approach, institutions, ethics, or population. You
may also want to explore additional material from books, scholarly journals, newspapers, Internet
sources, or magazine articles, to answer the following questions. You will need to cite at least 2
additional sources. You should come to recitation prepared to present and defend the position assigned
to you by your TA.
Based on your character’s/teams interests, you will define your priorities for Tambopata’s future.
What kinds of activities will generate income without destroying biodiversity? Brazil nut harvesting?
Sustainable agriculture? Low-impact logging? Forest carbon storage? Which of these activities should be
allowed in the most fertile and scenic lands lying along the rivers? Will tourists want to watch birds
amidst agriculture or mining? Should the forest be protected or used (and by whom?)? Or can the forest
be zoned, with different areas set up for different kinds of uses (farming, carbon sequestration,
ecotourism)? What sorts of uses go together and which ones do not? Support your position by using the
perspectives as tools in your argument.
Moral Arguments (think ethics, political economy): Who should benefit from Tambopata’s forests?
The area's original inhabitants (Ese'eja)? Or the ribereños (colonists), who have lived in the area for
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>3 generations? Or should Tambopata’s carbon-heavy forests be protected to benefit global
humanity? Do Tambopata's forests and wildlife have rights apart from human concerns?
Then, draw on these other kinds of arguments:
Environmental Arguments (think ecology, population, social construction, markets, political
economy): Why is it important to protect the forests? What is the forest and for whom? What
activities will generate economic income without destroying biodiversity? Are there any negative
environmental consequences of the land use you recommend? How might they be mitigated? Cite
positive examples from elsewhere in the tropics.
Economic Arguments (think political economy, markets): Tambopata is poor. Some children are
undernourished. Local people have less access to health care and education than other Peruvians.
Should the citizens of Tambopata have to forgo economic opportunities so that biodiversity is
conserved? If not, what kind of economic activities should have priority? How can carbon trading
help (think markets here)? How will the benefits of economic activities (farming, mining, carbon
sequestration, ecotourism) be distributed)?
Articulate how your team and/or character stands to gain or lose depending upon the land use decisions
made at an open round table discussion (your debate). The objective of the round table discussion is to
identify that the mix of land uses that best represents the interests of all stakeholder groups. Therefore,
beyond your character’s personal interests, you will need to consider the broader compromises your
character would make in order to achieve consensus.
A good paper needs to . . .
Lay out your team/character’s perspective using the perspectives we have learned to explain
how you see what is going on and what needs to happen.
Talk about forest ecology when laying out and supporting you argument.
Use at least 2 outside references.
Talk about how at least one other team may adopt a different perspective and why that
perspective is flawed in relation to your team’s position and in relation to the forest’s ecology.
Answer the question of whether Tambopata needs economic development and what kind of
development will meet the needs of all the stakeholder groups, including the ecology of the
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A quality paper will include the following structural elements:
1. Thesis stating your position at the beginning of your paper.
2. Following your thesis should be the supporting points for your perspective which will
also address the questions above (you should have at least 3 supporting points).
3. Each supporting point should draw from sources including the book and outside sources.
4. Argue from your perspective against at least one other perspective.
5. Closing statement that returns to your thesis statement to show how it is true.
6. Include references in your paper and attach a bibliography using a consistent reference
More on how to write a quality paper:
1. Do not rely on your spell check to catch all your spelling and grammar mistakes. If you
do you will end up with easily caught mistakes like “boulder” as the city you live in.
2. Please feel free to use Wikipedia as a starting place for your research, BUT don’t cite it in
your paper.
In addition to the above guidance, please see the documents on the class website entitled: Paper
assignment guidelines and How paper grades work.
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Stakeholders at Tambopata National Reserve, Peru
Brazilian nut harvester: Maria Silva has harvested
Brazil nuts since she was a child. Her family holds a
40-year concession for harvesting Brazil nuts in a 500
ha area within the Reserve. INRENA has proposed
opening her concession and others in the Reserve to
more activities, like hunting, fruit and thatch harvest.
This means that other people would be using the
same land at the same time. Maria believes this is
unfaithful to the Brazilian nut harvesters, as they
supported the establishment of the Reserve, and
have taken good care of the concession resources.
She feels that by allowing others to use the Reserve,
overexploitation and destruction of forest resources
is inevitable. Maria is an active member of ASCAR
(Asociación de Castañeros).
Ese ‘eja community member: Ramon Mishaja
belongs to indigenous Ese’eja [ay-say-ha] community
of Sonene. He fears that his people are losing rights
to their ancestral lands. He is still grieving for his
uncle who died from a hunger strike after being jailed
for hunting in the park outside assigned indigenous
land. He wants the Ese’ja people to regain their right
to hunt and use the forest as they wish. In fact, he
believes that Ese’eja reserves should be significantly
expanded. Ramon is a member of FENAMAD, the
Federation of Indigenous People of Madre-de-Dios.
Some of his family members work for Rainforest
Expeditions, an ecotourism company.
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Riberenyo: Pablo Armoto has made an informal claim
to 180 hectares of forested land along the Tambopata
River. He’s planted crops, but he’s not making a
profit. He keeps farming anyway because if he does
not work the land, another colonist might claim the
land. He’d like to sell timber from his land, but this is
illegal. He’s considering selling his timber to a corrupt
merchant, but he’d be paid just 1/3 the fair price.
Pablo is an excellent hunter. Even though he knows it
is illegal, he sometimes sells game meat in the city to
pay for his children’s school fees and medical bills.
Pablo has noticed that he has to go ever deeper into
the forest to still find large game. Once he was
threatened by the guards of a tourism company when
they discovered him hunting by their lodge. So he
turned to fishing for awhile.
Colonist farmers: José and Ana Herrera are recent
colonists from Cuzco, a city in the Peruvian Andean
mountains where there is little land and high
unemployment. They arrived in Tambopata 5 years
ago and made an informal claim to 30 hectares along
the highway. They plant crops until the soil is ‘tired’,
convert it to pasture and ranch cattle. They hope
someday to buy a truck and sell food and goods to
the miners. Some of their neighbors are talking about
selling their land to soybean and palm oil companies,
and then moving deeper into the forest to farm.
Others are interested in forming a new co-op to grow
organic coffee. The Herreras belong to FADEMAD.
They keep pushing their leaders to take a firm proagriculture stand.
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Leader of FADEMAD: Alan Moreno sees himself as
the defender of the local poor farmers AND the
forest. He grew up in the Amazon, as did his father
and grandfather. He’s proud of his farm because it
contains many different crops growing together in a
way that protects the soil and attracts wildlife. During
the 1990s, he was the key leader of FADEMAD and
worked closely with environmentalists to help
farmers better use their land and destroy less forest.
Because of his inspired leadership, international
conservationists flew Alan to Washington to speak
about the positive role of local farmers in
conservation. But eventually, other men in FADEMAD
became more powerful, particularly newcomers from
the Andes (colonists). To save his political career,
Alan has had to publicly announce that the rights of
local farmers to make a living are more important
than biodiversity. He has also publicly criticized
tourism companies for favoring indigenous people
over colonists and riberenyos.
Leader of FENAMAD: Agustin Achuni is a leader of
the Local Federation of Native People of Madre de
Dios (FENAMAD), a grassroots organization entirely
composed of indigenous people. Their mission is to
defend their land from colonists and other outside
interests, and to achieve autonomous authority to
manage their lands as they choose. Some members of
FENAMAD believe ecotourism is a profitable business
for indigenous people, others see it as exploitative.
Agustin also has to deal with the fact that some
members of FENAMAD are miners, while other
members oppose mining. All agree that indigenous
people are the poorest group in Madre de Dios and
that they must fight for any political power.
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Co-founder of Rainforest Expeditions: Peruvian
Eduardo Nycander is passionate about biodiversity
conservation, but believes that saving the rainforest
must be profitable to be successful. His company is
committed to sharing revenue with Ese’eja
communities and eventually turning the business
over to them. Eduardo is worried and angry about the
surge in mining activities along the rivers. His tourists
complain when they see mining deep in the forest.
They paid to visit pristine Amazon forest! He has
heard other ecotourism operators talk about paying
for a police force to enforce the law and evict miners
from Rio Malinowski. The police are reluctant to
confront large groups of armed miners.
Conservation biologist from Conservation
International, Washington, D.C. Emily Miller feels a
desperate urgency to conserve tropical rainforests.
She has traveled all over Latin America and has seen
forest after forest cleared for agriculture and
ranching. She is terribly frustrated that many parks in
Latin America are not really protected. She knows
that Tambopata is one of the last large blocks of
intact forest on the planet and is an important refuge
for biodiversity. She has successfully managed to
raise $750,000 from U.S. agencies to support
conservation activities in Peru. She channels this
money to the Peruvian conservation organizations.
She has pretty good working relationships in Peru,
but it gets tense sometimes. She’d like to see the
money go to more strict park protection, while her
Peruvian colleagues are more open to compromising
with local farmers.
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Vicente Molino, Owner of Peruvian logging company –
‘Madera Grande’ [Big Wood]: The Tahuamanu area
(east part of Tambopata) is rich in valuable hardwoods.
A few years ago, INRENA (National Institute of Natural
Resources) stopped Vicente’s company from logging
this area allegedly because they were cutting illegally.
Vicente suspects that INRENA actually wants to sell
rights to these forests to Asian logging companies.
Worse, Vicente suspects that INRENA has been
confiscating timber from logging companies and selling
it for profit. He once paid his employees to protest
logging restrictions. They marched the streets, forced
entry to INRENA property and torched the confiscated
wood. Vicente believes logging is the best way to aid
local development and it’s the right of local citizens to
cut the forest. He’s angry loggers were excluded, but
used his powerful connections to enter the roundtable.
Small-scale logger: Ernesto Perez was granted a small
concession to carry out logging in a forested area on his
farm. He has to pay taxes to INRENA for the timber he
extracts from the forest. This is not profitable, given
high labor costs. He is thinking of working for Madera
Grande, although he knows they are logging illegally
and are opening illegal roads to extract high value
mahogany trees. He wants to avoid any trouble with
INRENA, because they could take away his concession.
Although loggers were not invited to propose maps,
Ernesto’s friends in FADEMAD invited him to join the
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Gold miner: Pedro Gomez is a gold miner in the
riverbanks close to the Ese’eja [ay-say-ha] community
of Shiringayoc. He and his partners won a mining
concession in an auction at the government’s Mining
Department, outbidding the Shiringayoc indigenous
community. Now, Pedro is in trouble. The indigenous
people want to kick him out of the area and are
threatening violence. They argue that these are
indigenous territories and they should be the only ones
mining the riverbanks. Pedro is not surprised that he
and other miners were not officially invited to make
maps. After all, of the 30 mining concessions in TNR,
only 2 are legal. However, he wants to fight for his
rights as a miner. After all, mining is a enormous source
of revenue for his country and it gives the poor a way
to make a living, and maybe strike it rich!
Soybean producer Joao Belem is from Brazil. His father
is CEO of a multinational company that buys and sells
soybeans throughout Latin America. Joao hopes that
with the completion of the Interoceanic Highway, he
can promote soybean cultivation in Tambopata and
make a fortune by trucking it to other countries and
port cities. Soybean production is booming thanks to
the high demand for chicken feed in cities in Latin
America and Asia. He knows soybean production is
blamed for severe environmental damage elsewhere,
but Joao believes industrial agriculture is more
productive than slash and burn farming and can be
managed sustainably. He points out that soy
production helped Brazil and Argentina achieve
impressive economic growth and pay off international
debt. He points out that the Peruvian government
could tax soybeans and use the revenue to pay for
protecting the park.
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Mobil-Exxon Executive Bill Gibson has a degree in
geology and works for Mobil-Exxon on exploration and
extraction in remote areas throughout the world. He
has always enjoyed camping trips in U.S. national parks.
He is proud of his company's generous contributions to
conservation organizations. Bill's primary goal is to find
and extract oil efficiently with minimal environmental
impact. He sees little conflict between oil drilling and
forest conservation as long as farmers and loggers are
prevented from using the new roads to enter oil
concessions. He is convinced that oil drilling is
ultimately less destructive than having 1000s of farmers
clearing forest in the Reserve. Bill is quick to point out
that international investment in Peru has increased due
to the Government opening new areas to natural gas,
oil extraction and gold. He also pledges that if MobilExxon were to directly damage biodiversity in the park,
the company would pay for biodiversity to be
conserved in some other place (see
Wisconsin Energy Corporation executive Molly Carter
has a graduate degree in Natural Resources and works
for WE (Wisconsin Energy on environmental mitigation. She’s an
avid birder and spends her vacations bird watching in
the neotropics. She is eager to link efforts to slow
global climate change with biodiversity conservation
goals, and worked on pioneer projects where U.S.
companies paid to save rainforest in Belize (Rio Bravo)
and Bolivia (Noel Kempf Park) in order to store carbon
and biodiversity. She is optimistic that the international
initiative called “REDD” (Reduced Emissions from
Deforestation and Degradation) will generate
substantial funds to protect rainforest, and Tambopata
would be the perfect site for such investments.
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Biofuel scientist - Colleen Janssen has a graduate
degree in engineering and works for Netherlands
Energy Corporation (NEC) in the Division of Alternative
Energy Sources. The Government of Peru contacted her
to study the socioeconomic and environmental risks
and benefits related to biofuel crops production in
Tambopata (soy, sugarcane and oilpalm). She asserts
that planting oil palm on already degraded land would
yield positive economic and environmental results. She
points to Brazil’s enormous profits from biofuels.
However, local conservationists fear that planting oil
palm or other biofuels would displace smallscale
farmers and simply shift deforestation elsewhere.
Other opponents point out that oil palm plantations
need to be large (>1,000 ha) to be profitable. Colleen
still believes planting biofuels are an optimal choice for
restoring degraded agricultural lands in the buffer zone
the Interoceanic Highway.