Brazilian fire management activities in Terra Indigenous. Photo: IBAMA /Prevfogo
The International Savanna Fire Management Initiative has already contributed to positive developments in other countries. Brazil’s Institute of Environment and Natural Resources (IBAMA) Prevfogo, part of the Ministry of the Environment, was from 2013 mandated with the responsibility of managing fire in Terra Indigenous (TI). Inspired by knowledge gained during a visit to Australia’s Northern Territory by Brazilian fire experts in May 2014, Prevfogo has begun the process of compiling indigenous fire knowledge and fire use in two fire management pilot areas.
During their visit to Australia an eight-member Brazilian delegation including a member from Prevfogo among other state and federal institutions, learned first-hand how Aboriginal people in Australia’s upper north are burning savanna lands, according to their intimate knowledge of the land based on generations of knowledge. The 11-day visit took the Brazilians to the Northern Territory’s West Arnhem Land and the Kimberley in Western Australia. The Brazilians were impressed how the adoption of Aboriginal people’s traditional knowledge in fire management provided Australia’s own indigenous people with local employment and cultural empowerment.
In April this year, Brazil for the first time introduced early burning on indigenous lands in collaboration with the local peoples, while exploring the ancient fire management practices of the Xerente people, an indigenous community living in the country’s interior. Here, Brazil is supported by the German government through GIZ, an international cooperation organisation for sustainable development, to jointly implement integrated fire management activities in the cerrado savanna plateaus in the country’s centre. To further promote indigenous participation, IBAMA has worked closely with Brazil’s National Indian Foundation FUNAI in the Xerentes territory.
In this article ‘Ibama prepara atividades de manejo integrado do fogo nas Terras Indígenas‘ (Portuguese only) IBAMA details its fire management work in the Cerrado. See also the corresponding video on fire management in the Cerrado under the video section of this site.