Defending Guarani forest territory from soy farming

This project supports the Guarani people and their representative organisation, the Comissão Guarani Yvyrupa (CGY) to consolidate their rights and protect their territory against the degradation of the biome, essential for the existence of these people. It also seeks to strengthen the Guarani’s spiritual and agricultural practises and promote the voices of Indigenous women.

The Challenge

The Guarani are the largest group of Indigenous Peoples in Latin America. Many Guarani communities live in untitled lands or on small camps alongside highways. Their territories lie in the Atlantic Forest in Brazil, where only 7% of its forests remain intact.

The Atlantic Forest is a vital landscape and considered to be a priority for environmental conservation. It has about 5% of the world’s biodiversity and the waterways directly provide water to around 67% of the Brazilian population.

Data shows that the remaining forest cover is thanks to the custodianship of the Guarani. In fact, vegetation cover is almost 100% on legally recognised Guarani lands. This proves that Indigenous Peoples are the best guardians of the world’s forests.

However, the widespread prevalence of soy farming on traditional Guarani territory is causing high levels of deforestation and putting their lives and livelihoods at risk. In addition, depleted soils from over-farming by non-Indigenous people, increasingly erratic weather patterns, the Guarani’s health, food security and their ability to uphold traditional Indigenous practises are all highly threatened.

These issues have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is having a devastating impact in Brazil, especially for Indigenous Peoples.

Credit: CGY

Project Aims

Comissão Guarani Yvyrupa (CGY) are an autonomous indigenous organisation. Their mission is to defend the territorial rights of the Guarani people, improve food security, and strengthen traditional practises. Their work is guided by the Guarani Life Plan and cultural traditions and practices.

Synchronicity Earth is a UK-based charity, specialised in channelling support to grassroots organisations in a way that is safe, efficient and flexible. Synchronicity Earth’s experienced staff work closely with CGY to raise and manage funding to support its work.

To protect its forest and their territorial rights, CGY is strengthening their legal capacity to support the Guarani people in obtaining land titles and regaining legal access to their lands.

A vital aspect of the project is to strengthen the role and participation of women in political decision-making. Women play a crucial role in promoting traditional and regenerative farming practices, and sharing traditional knowledge such as use of plant medicines, food, sacred songs, and seed exchanges.

With a strengthened Guarani cultural integrity strengthened; a cohesive vision for the future; with all facets of the community involved in decision making, and with a strengthened legal capacity, the Guarani have the best chances of their land rights being recognised.

Credit: CGY

Video

Rivelino Verá Popygua, Chief of the Mbya Guarani, discusses how soy farming in Brazil is causing deforestation and damaging his community.

Rivelino Verá Popygua, Chief of the Mbya Guarani, speaks to ITV Wales at COP26 about how deforestation is impacting his community.

Partner Profile


Synchronicity Earth is a UK-registered conservation charity that funds conservation that works by addressing overlooked and underfunded conservation challenges for globally threatened wildlife and ecosystems.

Comissão Guarani Yvyrupa (CGY) are an autonomous indigenous organisation. Their mission is to defend the territorial rights of the Guarani people, improve food security, and strengthen traditional practices.