The Forestability project was established to attract young people to forest-related careers and entrepreneurial opportunities, and to improve rural extension assistance in the Amazon, all with the objective of supporting the standing forest.
Taking advantage of forest-related resources is key to avoiding deforestation of the Amazon Forest. Towards this end, there is a need for people interested in natural resource management and skilled in the appropriate conservation techniques.
Forestability is currently in six states in Brazil: Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Mato Grosso, Pará and Rondônia. It is implemented in partnership with state and municipal secretariats of education and offers training and support for elementary and middle school teachers in forest management. Approximately 30,000 students have participated in the program and 3,000 teachers have received training since 2012.
Forestability is also implemented in partnership with environmental and rural extension agencies, including secretariats of the environment, Emater and state forestry administrations. The Brazilian Forestry Service collaborated on the creation of teaching materials for training of rural extension agents. Materials focus on actual challenges faced by extension agents in the field, such as how to help rural producers find forest-based employment, how to comply with rural property regulations, how to structure a forest-based business, how to help communities organize or assist them in monitoring forest-based production.
A number of forest management specialist and institutions work in conjunction with the Roberto Marinho Foundation to develop Forestability, including the Tropical Forest Institute (IFT), Imazon, the Forest and Agriculture Management and Certification Institute (Imaflora) and the International Education Institute of Brazil (IEB). The kit given to schools contains material on Amazon ecology, management of timber and non-timber products, environmental services, multiple uses of the forest, as well as examples of careers in forestry management and research. Resources cover a range of modalities, including video, radio programs, student workbooks and facilitator’s guide, and games. The instructional style of Forestability is based on that of Telessala. All materials are available on the program’s web site.
Forestability was inaugurated in 2012 in partnership with the Vale Fund and now counts the Good Energies Foundation and the Brazilian Forest Service among its partners. Both traditional knowledge and scientific data are explored in the program. Classes and workshops discuss experiences of members of riverbank, extractivist, and indigenous communities, as well as researchers and forest-based businesses, who all live in various settings in the Amazon.