A report by the International Tropical Timber Organisation has indicated that community projects such as fruit and nut harvesting from within rainforests both provide employment and tie people's livelihoods to the preservation of the rainforest.
'Someone depending on a forest for income and habitat will look after it,' Andy White, one of the report's authors, told Reuters. 'We need people in forests.'
Local people, the report argues, have a much longer-term vision for 'resource management' than logging companies, although the political pressure that can be brought to bear by the latter is still a major obstacle.
On Sunday, rural workers delivered a letter to the Brazilian Environment Minister Marina Silva, asking him to support community forest work through policy and financial aid.
This article first appeared in the Ecologist July 2007