Landscape Stories - Para Brazil



Our Landscape vision and approach.
The landscape project aims to work together with local actors on sustainable land use planning, mitigating and adapting to climate change and protecting native forests while fostering economic growth.

To achieve this, Earthworm works with companies, supports farmers and collaborates with local governments to create a sustainable development mode that works for all. We use innovations such as satellite monitoring and smartphone technology combined with a permanent presence on the ground to engage with local actors. The key objectives of the project are:

  • Improved farmer resilience through diversification and farm practices
  • The protection of high value conservation areas through protection agreements with farmers.
  • The creation of a sustainable development vision and a land use plan for Tome Açu through public private partnerships.
  • Scaling up by applying the landscape model from Tome Açu in other high priority municipalities in Para State.


We began working in Tome Acu through supply chain assessments with eight palm oil refiners to develop and implement no deforestation, no peat and no exploitation policies. This engagement helped improve social and environmental practices at the palm oil refineries with a particular focus on social management systems, labour conditions and conflict management. However, we and the companies we worked with quickly realised that it was necessary to also work with the smallholder segment of the supply chain. A smallholder diagnostic was completed and a Rurality project created to work with 675 palm oil farmers to improve farmer sustainability, supply chain integration and increase resilience through diversification. While we continued to see the impacts of our work in the palm oil supply chain, we came to realise that the scope was not enough. To truly improve social and environmental practice in Tome Acu , more actors had to be engaged, in particular, the municipal government and organisations with expertise in agricultural techniques such as agroforestry.

We are now finalising social and environmental diagnostics. These will identify key challenges to be addressed. To identify conservation areas, an HCS and HCV study* is being completed in 2020 that will help palm oil farmers and refiners comply with their sustainability commitments. In parallel, Earthworm is working with local partners to build a fair and inclusive governance structure that will allow local actors from the public and private sector alongside civil society, farmers and local communities to design landscape level land use plans. As a key element of this, we are developing incentive mechanisms to support farmers and communities to set aside protected areas on their land. We will also work with partners to create a participatory monitoring model that use innovative satellite technology through Starling. Finally, the adoption of innovative farming practices is being evaluated, in particular agroforestry, as Tome Açu has a long history of being at the forefront of sustainable farming models.

*The High Carbon Stock (HCS) and High Conservation Value (HCV) methodologies are two leading approaches use to implement industry commitments towards no deforestation while respecting the rights of local people.




The project Contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals are summarized below:

1.5 By 2030, build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters.

The project will directly contribute to improve smallholders’ communities to improve their resilience to climate-related impacts by delivering these expected results:
  • Farmers are managing their property to protect and restore farms ecological functions in the landscape
  • Farmers have diversified their production for personal consumption, local market and for global supply chains)
2.3 By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment

Project Expected Results
  • Farmers are managing profitable businesses based on their properties

2.4 By 2030, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality


At Food Production level, with the Integration and engagement of supply chain stakeholder, the project will contribute with these expected results:

  • Design and share knowledge for agricultural management practices

Considering other systemic results expected from the project, the contribution will also be coherent when addressing the following SDG's:

12.6 Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle

13.1 Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries

15.9 By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts

16.7 Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels

17.14 Enhance policy coherence for sustainable development

17.17 Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships.

  • 675 Palm oil smallholders engaged through a Rurality programme to improve farm resiliency, sustainability, and supply chain integration.
  • Eight palm oil refinery technical assistance teams trained in conflict mitigation and social management system design
  • Eight major palm oil refineries engaged since 2016, six of them with sustainability policies published with associated action plans in place
  • Formal agreements with 3 partners and extensive engagement with 3 farmers associations, 2 civil society organisations, 3 companies
  • Working through a supply chain approach allowed for fast and critical short term achievements that are now being consolidated through engagement with other actors.
  • Building a participatory collation of actors at the landscape level can only be achieved by investing time, resources and a local presence to build trust and long term relationships.
  • Adopting a rights based approach in Tomé Açu helped us to quickly connect with existing public programs and initiatives to build leverage for impact and sustainability.
  • Spending extensive time in the field to analyze local livelihoods and needs helped us to build effective social management systems in the palm oil sector and is paving the way for the creation of participatory land use governance at the landscape leveL

Earthworm Foundation
Earthworm Foundation has 20 years of experience in finding solutions to the major social and environmental problems that our world is facing today.
That was just the start.