Sustainable development of the Mbaracayú Forest Reserve

Sustainable development of the Mbaracayú Forest Reserve



One of the main problems in rural areas of Paraguay is the misuse of available resources on farms. This leads to a loss of soil quality and biodiversity and thus to a deterioration of the quality of life of the local population. Official data show high economic growth in the department of Canindeyú. The region is considered the third largest producer of soy and meat in the country, but 75 % of smallholder families live below the poverty line, with incomes of around USD 1,500 per year. In the case of indigenous communities, these amounts are even lower. On the other hand, Paraguay has lost more than 85% of its forest area in the last 60 years, mainly due to the establishment of agricultural and livestock farms without regard for the environment. This loss has led to a parallel decrease and degradation of various ecosystem services, which have an impact on the loss of quality of life of many rural communities. Therefore, there is a need in the region for a sustainable production model that provides smallholder farmers and indigenous people with a concrete alternative for income generation. The improvement of the quality of life and the conservation of natural resources must be supported.


Project Goals

The project aims to promote the integrated, sustainable model of yerba mate (Ilex paraguayensis) production so that rural communities increase their economic income while improving environmental conditions. This model enables and promotes the conservation of the remnants of the Atlantic rainforest of Alto Paraná and creates conditions for social and economic values that are reinforced by the tourism and environmental potential in the region of the Mbaracayú Biosphere Reserve. Furthermore, the project will contribute to capacity building and the creation of sustainable structures.


Project Measures

1. Supporting families in the agricultural production of yerba mate

Producers will be accompanied in the sustainable production of yerba mate. This model allows for environmentally friendly production, while producers commit to conserving remaining forest areas. In addition, producers who are already producing yerba mate will be accompanied in order to certify their yerba mate as organic and fair trade. As there are very few rural associations in the area and they hardly function, the project will try to strengthen these structures by providing support and advice on the necessary administrative issues.


2. Environmental protection in the reserve and monitoring of biodiversity

Forest closure plots will be selected to monitor biodiversity, in order to control and ensure that diversity is not lost at the end of the project. In addition to periodic monitoring by the project team, students in their final years of undergraduate or master's degrees at national universities will be offered the opportunity to carry out their research work in the area on conservation issues that will provide useful knowledge for the project.


3. Creating environmental awareness among young people in local communities

A group of students from the environmental baccalaureate of a school for young rural and indigenous women from different rural communities of the Mbaracayú Forest Nature Reserve (RBBM) will be trained. Together with them, educational and dissemination materials on the sustainable yerba mate production model will be developed and disseminated in several schools in the region.


4. Income generation through visibility of sustainable yerba mate production

The Mbaracayú Forest Nature Reserve is one of the main attractions of the area, which is why its buffer zone is part of the area and located nearby.

Together with the selected producers, a strategic concept for tourism with yerba mate in the RBBM is being developed. Contents are the adaptation of the farms for the tourism development of Yerba Mate and its impact on the forest. The necessary materials for the installation of self-guided tours on the topic of sustainable yerba mate as well as informative didactic materials on yerba mate, biodiversity and culture will be designed and developed.

 Laguna Paraguay Mbaracayú Forest Reserve | GlobalNatureFund
 3 Men in the Field | Paraguay Mbaracayú Forest Reserve | GlobalNatureFund
 Waterfall Paraguay Mbaracayú Forest Reserve | GlobalNatureFund
 Men working in the forest | Paraguay Mbaracayú Forest Reserve | GlobalNatureFund
 Aerial view Paraguay Mbaracayú Forest Reserve | GlobalNatureFund
 Pupils Environmental Baccalaureate | Paraguay Mbaracayú Forest Reserve | GlobalNatureFund
 Aerial view Paraguay Mbaracayú Forest Reserve | GlobalNatureFund
 Graduation Schoolgirls Environmental Baccalaureate | Paraguay Mbaracayú Forest Reserve | GlobalNatureFund


 Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ)
 Stiftung Ursula Merz

Contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals

The project should make a concrete contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

 Ziel 1: Armut in jeder Form und überall beenden
 Ziel 8: Dauerhaftes, inklusives und nachhaltiges Wirtschaftswachstum, produktive Vollbeschäftigung und menschenwürdige Arbeit für alle fördern
 Ziel 17: Umsetzungsmittel stärken und die globale Partnerschaft für nachhaltige Entwicklung wiederbeleben


Project Partner

The Fundación Moisés Bertoni is an active and recognised organisation for achieving sustainable development and improving the quality of life in Paraguay. It is a central vision of the foundation to work in an innovative way for sustainable development through the protection of nature, with social responsibility and the active participation of the population. All FMB projects take equal account of their different target groups and both indigenous and farming communities are always invited to participate in the measures.

The FMB was founded in 1988 as a non-profit, non-governmental organisation by a group of people from different sectors of society. Sustainable development through nature conservation, social responsibility and the participation of the local population are the basic principles of the FMB's work.


Project Partner

 Logo Fundación Moisés Bertoni |


Contact Persons

Katharina Gehrig

Global Nature Fund (GNF) - Office Radolfzell

Tel.: +49 7732 9995 86



Project Period:


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01 December 2021 - 30 November 2024




Fundación Moisés Bertoni


German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Ursula Merz Foundation