Development of Food Forests in the Amazon forest

Living Labs

Development of Food Forests in the Amazon forest

This community-based multi-year project aims to involve traditional populations from protected reserves and family farmers in the creation of forests and agroforests.

Project launch: 2019
Location: State of Rondônia, Legal Amazon
Objectives: Combating deforestation, restoration of degraded ecosystems, biodiversity conservation, economic development of traditional Amazonian populations, 5 million trees of 100 different species planted by 2030 / training and income generation
Key activities: tree planting for agroforestry and reforestation, access to markets
Where we are: 1,070,000 seedlings have been planted so far
Main species planted: Acai (Euterpe oleracea), Cupuaçu (Theobroma grandiflorum) and Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa), Achiote (Bixa Orellana), Andiroba (Carapa guianensis), Peach palm (Bactris gasipaes), Jatoba (Hymenaea courbaril)
Partners: family farmers, rubber tappers
Implementing organisation: Centro de Estudos Rioterra
Supporters: Reforest Action, One tree Planted, Tree Nation, Conservation International


The Amazon rainforest, one of the three largest primary forests in the world, is also one of the most impacted by deforestation, with 4 million trees disappearing each year. Industrial agriculture generates two-thirds of deforestation in South America. For example, Brazil, the world’s largest soy producer, has converted 18% of its forest ecosystems since 1970 using clearcut felling and burning.

This Living Lab is located in the State of Rondônia, in the southwest of the Brazilian Amazon. This area is part of the “arc of deforestation” formed by vast areas of land where the agricultural frontier and deforestation have increased considerably in recent decades.


  • Action on the ground
    This Living Lab is a community-based project, which aims to involve traditional populations living in protected reserves in the creation of forests and agroforests, guaranteeing them access to these resources. Reforestation combines a wide variety of species which are selected according to the climate and soil conditions of the area and the needs of local populations.
  • Establishing fruit forests
    This highly innovative Living Lab is carried out within extractive reserves, on land deforested in the past to create conventional pastures, at the cost of loss of land by traditional populations. These heavily degraded pastures will be reforested with the support of SEDAM, Rondônia’s state agency for defense of the environment. This state in the Brazilian Amazon will ensure the smooth running of the project in partnership with Rioterra.

    The forests and agroforests created will be used by traditional populations, who have lived in these reserves for for generations. All species planted are chosen in line with the needs of local communities: acai produces fruits with high nutritional quality; cupuaçu produces a vegetable butter appreciated for its calming and restorative properties; achiote and andiroba are known for their medicinal properties; the peach palm and Brazil nut produce fruits and nuts which are consumed by local communities and appreciated in the world market; and jatobá will ultimately be used to produce high-quality timber.
  • Plantation areas
    The trees are planted in extractive reserves (Rio Preto Jacundá, Aquariquara, Jatobá, Castanheira, Angelim, Mogno and Sucupira) in the state of Rondônia, in the Brazilian Amazon. The planted areas may change each planting season, depending on the needs of local communities and the project’s development.
  • Integrating and training local communities
    The Living Lab aims to offer educational actions, so that local and traditional populations become aware of the importance of preserving the planted trees in the long term, and can achieve autonomous development that is respectful of the environment.

Expected impacts

The project directly contributes to the achievement of 13 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, which provide a roadmap to a better and more sustainable future.