Evaluating the opportunities and limitations to multiple use of Brazil nuts and timber in Western Amazonia

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Multiple-use forest management, which includes timber, non-timber forest products, and environmental services, is considered a promising tropical conservation and development strategy. In the tri-national frontier region of Madre de Dios (Peru), Acre (Brazil), and Pando (Bolivia) in Western Amazonia, we evaluated perceptions of representatives from four stakeholder groups - communities, industries (Brazil nut and timber), non-governmental organizations, and government agencies - on integrated management of timber and Brazil nuts (from the tree species Bertholletia excelsa) at multiple scales. A strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis in combination with an analytic hierarchy process (AHP) was used to accomplish this task. Overall, results showed distinct differences in perceptions among stakeholder groups both within and among countries in pursuing multiple-use forestry strategies. Although many stakeholder groups held positive perceptions about multiple use of Brazil nuts and timber, several limitations were associated with implementation of this model. For instance, policy barriers and high management costs were considered the main weaknesses throughout the region. In Madre de Dios and Pando, logging damage to Brazil nut stands was the dominant threat, whereas in Acre, the main threat was reinvestment of forestry income into cattle. Our work shows that despite the high potential for and positive views of many stakeholders in pursuing integrated management of Brazil nut and timber, specific policy, economic, and technical limitations must first be addressed. To this end, we provide recommendations for promoting this multi-use forestry model in the future.

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