Amazon SchoolSowing The Future of AmazonThe Amazon School Program, begun in 2002, was the co-creation of the president of the Cristalino Ecological Foundation (FEC), Vitória Da Riva, and the biologists Silvio Marchini and Edson Grandisoli. The principal aim is to involve young people in the care of the planet’s greatest natural heritage: its biodiversity. The target audience of the program are teachers and students, since they are, through their knowledge-building relationship, the multipliers of this process.Under the program, we are currently running the A Day In The Forest project, which operates in a 60-hectare area of preserved native forest within the urban limits of Alta Floresta. Established in 2008, the project serves schools within the municipality and the wider area and involves activities such as walks, looking at the fauna and flora, artistic and dynamic activities, all within the Amazon rainforest. The objective is to entertain while developing awareness and also arousing curiosity and a new way of looking at and connecting with the forest, an environment that is simultaneously so close and yet so far removed. FungiDeveloping Knowledge about this very important ecological group is essentialStudies on the diversity of fungi are still very scarce, with only around 7% of the total variety actually known to science. These organisms are essential to the workings of terrestrial ecosystems and are the focus of broad research that is taking place in the Cristalino RPPNs, under the coordination of Dr. Célia Soares, in a partnership between the Cristalino Ecological Foundation (FEC), UNEMAT (State University of Mato Grosso), in Alta Floresta, and the German Parataxonomist Susanne Sourell.The aim of the project is to learn the diversity of macroscopic fungi within the region, to set future goals for applied studies in the fields of the Biological, Agrarian and Health Sciences and to contribute the first collection of fungi from the far north of Mato Grosso state, to the UNEMAT Alta Floresta Campus. Researchers from Brazilian and foreign universities are also involved, helping to identify and describe species that are possibly new to science. This project has already produced some excellent results, such as a photographic guide, organized by Susanne with the collaboration of the University of Tübingen, in Germany. Estudos do meioParceria entre FEC e Universidade de Tübingen promove aulas de campo na Floresta AmazônicaHá 12 anos, alunos da Universidade de Tübingen (Alemanha) dos cursos de Zoologia e Geoecologia vêm ao Brasil, sob orientação do Professor Rainer Radtke, para realizar pesquisas de campo. Na Viagem Tübingen – Brasil, eles têm a oportunidade de desenvolver estudos com vários grupos (animais ou plantas) nos biomas brasileiros. Por se tratar de uma área importante no cenário conservacionista, as RPPNs Cristalino são um dos seus principais destinos.Vários trabalhos já foram desenvolvidos, como por exemplo o estudo da distribuição de duas espécies de sapos; Ameerega flavopicta e Adelphobates galactonotus. Os autores concluem que a distribuição está diretamente relacionada com as características do ambiente, sendo limitada a uma pequena área durante o período seco (Schlenhardt, 2012), aumentando a distribuição no período chuvoso (Benner, 2014). Apesar do curto período de realização, estes trabalhos servirão de arcabouço para pesquisas sobre a ecologia deste grupo tão importante no Rio Cristalino. rEGULatiNG THE RESEaRCHSUPPORT To RESEaRCH AIMED AT EXPANDING AND DISSEMINATING KNOWLEDGEThis project, funded by the Boticário Group Foundation, focuses on the organization, regulating the usage and dissemination of research carried out in the Cristalino Nature Reserves. A database has been set up to make the research results available to interested parties. Rules have been drawn up for the use of the reserves by researchers, to ensure safety; that information (conservation education) is provided to the local communities and visitors; that gaps in knowledge, identified in the management plans, are addressed; that the research carried out contributes to the conservation of the region; and the generation of financial support for the management of the reserves.Once the requirements have been met, the FEC kicks off an activity, aimed at increasing knowledge about the region, through partnerships with Brazilian and foreign teaching and research institutions. One result has been technical cooperation arrangements with the UFMT (Federal University of Mato Grosso) and UNEMAT (State University of Mato Grosso) in Alta Floresta. The Floresta Amazônica Hotel and the Cristalino Lodge are both partners in this endeavour. Local DeVelOPmentSustainable economic activities around the Cristalino State Park can contribute to its preservation and reduce the present environmental impacts, as the communities inhabiting the buffer zone are seeking to develop sustainable economic activities that can yield income generation, improved quality of life and environmental protection.Consequently, in 2011, an Analysis and Participatory Planning of the Gleba Divisa Lands (Novo Mundo/Mato Grosso state) was conducted through a partnership between the Cristalino Ecological Foundation, Fauna & Flora International, the Tarley Rossi Villela state school and the Association for the Sustainable Development of the Gleba Divisa Lands, plus support from several local organizations. This effort is part of the Integrated Project for the Conservation and Economic Sustainability of the Gleba Divisa (PIPAES), which is integrating endeavours, technical cooperation and grassroots arrangements to develop a process of protagonism that can bring sustainability to the region. The document includes the methodological aspect of the participatory process, as well as a Conservation and Development Plan for the next 10 years. Cristalino Flora PROGRAMKNOWLEDGE IS KEY TO THE CONSERVATION AND APPRECIATION OF THE SOUTHERN AMAZONIn order to promote the conservation of the Cristalino region through the generation of scientific knowledge of the region’s flora, the Cristalino Flora Program was set up in 2006, under a partnership between the FEC and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, in the United Kingdom, supported by UNEMAT (State University of Mato Grosso), Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and Rio Tinto. It was the first study to be conducted of the flora in the north of Mato Grosso state and as a result, 1,366 species of vascular plants (626 genera and 151 families) were catalogued, across eight different types of vegetation.The materials were herborized and sent to UNEMAT, thereby assisting the setting up of the first Herbarium of the Southern Amazon (HERBAM) on the UNEMAT campus in Alta Floresta. In addition to producing the book Vegetation and Plants of the Cristalino, the program contributed considerably to knowledge of the local flora and especially the discovery and description of species that were new to science, such as the Cristalino passion flower (Passiflora cristalina), ichthyothere (Ichthyothere sasakiae), sciadocephala (Sciadocephala gracieliae) and the guarea (Guarea zepivae). ProjeCt FOR THE COEXISTENCE OF PEOPLE AND JAGUARSUnder the People and Jaguars Project, led by biologist Silvio Marchini, the FEC conducted a study to identify factors – besides the economic ones – that explain the variations in the hunting of jaguars along the Amazon’s agricultural frontier. The study sought to evaluate the knowledge, beliefs, attitudes and social norms that determine the hunting and killing of jaguars and pumas in the vicinity of the Cristalino State Park. Having identified the factors, an educational and communication program was developed to increase local knowledge and awareness, in order to change attitudes and promote behaviour that is compatible with conservation of the species. Supporting materials, such as the Guide to the Coexistence of People and Jaguars, written by Silvio Marchini and Ricardo Luciano, and educational booklets for children, owe much to the efforts of Tiago Henicka, a biologist who worked directly on this project). The traveling theatre show – Sassá, the jaguar – presented in schools by the Experimental Theatre group, is another successful initiative.