the project

The Kayapo indigenous people of the southeastern Amazon have struggled to acquire and protect their land rights
over 40 years since the frontier of settlement and resource extraction began to explode around their territories. Twenty-first century alliances of the Kayapo with conservation non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have
enabled protection of almost ten million hectares of their contiguous ratified territories. 

Key to success has been
the development of resource management and income generation activities within Kayapo indigenous territories, and territorial surveillance and protection that is essential given the lack of government enforcement.



Kayapo lands are located in the midst of one of the world’s highest deforestation regions — an agricultural frontier with expanding road network and little of any form of law enforcement. Kayapo have fiercely protected their vast territory but face increased pressure from illegal incursions for goldmining, logging, commercial fishing, and ranching. The NGO alliance provided the Kayapo with new tools to monitor and control their territories and by about 2010 the Kayapo were successfully defending most of their territory. With the election of a new government in 2019, the struggle ramped up. President Bolsonaro vows to open indigenous lands to development and “integrate” indigenous people into national society -in other words, to destroy huge areas of forest and throw indigenous people into a pit of inequality, poverty and disenfranchisement.


The overarching goal of the Kayapo-NGO alliance is to empower the Kayapo to defend their constitutional rights, protect their ecologically intact territories and develop sustainable economic autonomy. The Kayapo and their partners have worked over almost two decades to grow and diversify a portfolio of sustainable conservation-based enterprise, generate equitably distributed benefits, and strengthen territorial monitoring and surveillance over a vast roadless
area demarcated by some 2,000 km (1,250 miles) of border.


conservation value


The Kayapo defend the largest block of indigenous territory in Brazil and, in fact, the largest officially protected tract of tropical rainforest anywhere in the world. Kayapo territory is the last large tract of forest surviving in the entire southeastern Amazon and therefore, the last refuge for a mind-blowing number of species of animal and plants that cannot exist outside the Kayapo domain in this high deforestation region including such icons as: jaguar, giant otter, giant armadillo, white whiskered spider monkey, saki monkey, hyacinth macaw and harpy eagle; but also no less important timber tree species such as mahogany and many fish species that are being
logged and fished out everywhere else in the region.

Project Pillars




The Territory: Overview

deforestation and goldmining stays out of 90% of Kayapo territory that receives outside investment 

Project Partners

International conservation fund of canada

The ICFC is one of Canada’s top ranked conservation charities. They focus on enabling direct conservation action in the tropics with projects in over 25 countries worldwide. The ICFC partners with experienced non-governmental organizations based in the areas where we work and focusses on conservation priorities with good value in relation to cost and risk.

associacoa floresta protegida

The Protected Forest Association (AFP) is a non-profit indigenous organization that currently represents 17 communities (about 3000 indigenous) of the Mẽbêngôkre / Kayapó people located in the south of the state of Pará. Thirteen villages are located in the Kayapó Indigenous Land, two are located in the Indigenous Territory and (Kékrãk) and (Kẽrák)

instituto kabu

The Kabu Institute was founded in the city of Novo Progresso, in the state of Pará, primarily by three villages (Kubenkokre, Pukany and Baú).  The institute manages sustainable-enterprises across 11 villages.

instituto raoni
The Raoni Institute (IR) was created in 2001 to promote sustainable forest management and the protection of the territories, rights and cultures of many indigenous peoples such as the Mebengokre), Yudja, Trumai, Tapayuna, Kruwatire) and Krãyakàrã.


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