Photo: Villy Ribeiro
Photo: Villy Ribeiro

Oasis

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Photo: Xará Villela
Photo: Xará Villela

A change of attitude, when it is not in consonance with conservationist practices, is one of the vectors of our work. And to change demands one to be positioned at the vanguard. In 2006, we launched Oásis (Oasis), a pioneering initiative that encourages nature conservation through the payment for environmental services (PES).

Environmental services are those supplied by natural ecosystems that provide conditions for the maintenance of life on Earth. Examples of these services are: air and water purification, climate regulation, the pollination of plantations and natural vegetation, and the control of agricultural pests.

Therefore, the payment for environmental services can be understood as a financial award in exchange of the protection of ecosystems. This means that landowners who protect their natural areas and, consequently, provide environmental services can be awarded for their efforts in maintaining these services.

The methodology adopted, which is unheard-of in the country, was developed by Fundação Grupo Boticário de Proteção a Natureza (Boticário Group Foundation for Nature Protection) itself. The result is a flexible model that is able to attend different social, economic, and environmental realities all over Brazil.

In addition to calculating the environmental value of properties, a set of tools and procedures was developed aiming at aiding partner institutions to plan and structure their projects, perform environmental evaluation, select landowners, monitor and evaluate the results, and seek potential sources of financial resources.

Oásis has been acknowledged via awards such as the Von Martius de Sustentabilidade award, the Brasil Ambiental award, PLACA Prize, and the Expressão Ecologia award, amongst others. Now, the goal is to disseminate the PES mechanism throughout the country, encouraging the investment in similar initiatives, increasing actions towards nature conservation and allowing long-term actions such as, for instance, the stimulus to the creation of Private Natural Heritage Preserves (PNHP).