Fort Worth, TX (PRWEB) December 7, 2010
The Botanical Research Institute of Texas(BRIT) will present its 2011 International Award of Excellence in Conservation to John Cain Carter, the native Texan who is the founder and executive director of the Brazilian rain forest conservation organization, Aliança da Terra. He will receive the award at a dinner here on Thursday, April 21, 2011.
“Mr. Carter sets an impressive example of what can be done to slow deforestation of one of the world's most invaluable ecosystems, the Amazon rain forest," said S. H. Sohmer, Ph.D., FLS, BRIT’s president and director.
BRIT created the award in 1995 to honor individuals and organizations that exemplify the ideals expressed in its mission: to conserve our natural heritage by deepening our knowledge of the plant world and achieving public understanding of the value that plants bring to life.
For more information about the award, go to http://www.brit.org, or contact Chris Chilton, 817.332.4441, ext. 218
About John Cain Carter and Aliança da Terra
John Cain Carter's work started when he became alarmed about the rapid deforestation of the rain forest after moving to Brazil’s southern Amazon Basin in 1996 with his Brazilian wife to manage her family’s cattle ranching operations. He and his wife, Ana Francisca Carvalho Garcia Cid, met while they were attending TCU's (Texas Christian University) Ranch Management Program, from which they both graduated in 1993. Her grandfathers were two of Brazil's most famous cattle breeders. Her father is a renowned Brazilian cattle breeder and rancher.
Carter learned about cattle ranching being the leading cause of deforestation, since two-thirds of the deforestation has been for cattle pasture. Because the loss of the rain forest decreases humidity and rain, the land becomes more combustible.
When a neighbor's uncontrolled fire spread to his own ranch, Carter realized that he had to convince his neighbors to stop the destructive burning to clear their land. He knew that he could not force farmers and ranchers to adopt sustainable land management practices to slow or stop deforestation, so he founded Aliança da Terra (AT), meaning land alliance, in 2004.
Keyed to a market-based solution, AT provides market access for its members while striving to create value-added pricing for their products, but only if they meet the social-environmental criteria set forth by the Registry for Social-Environmental Responsibility (RSR): native vegetation cover, soil conservation, fire prevention, controlled burns, waste management, environmental and deed compliance, and health and safety in the workplace. A big emphasis is placed on water quality.
Today, AT has a growing registry of about 350 properties representing beef and grain producers encompassing 5.5 million acres of land, 690,000 head of grazing cattle, and a 14- million-bushel capacity per year in soybeans in nine Brazilian states. Of this total landmass, 3 million acres is native vegetation.
Because fire has a devastating impact on the Amazonian ecosystems, AT has established a fire brigade in the state of Mato Grosso to protect the forest of the Xingu National Park and private properties surrounding the park that are registered with AT. The brigade trains residents in fire-fighting techniques and fire management. In 2010, these units extinguished over 40 wildfires, 14 on registered properties.
A native of San Antonio, Texas, Carter graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a degree in geology. A Gulf War (Iraq) veteran, he served in the 101st Airborne Division. The Carters live in Goiânia, Goiâs, Brazil, with their two children.
Founded in 1987, BRIT is an international, scientific research and learning center focused on conservation and knowledge sharing. Based in Fort Worth, BRIT catalogs plant life on Earth and conducts extensive research around the world. Current major research projects are in Texas, Peru, and Papua New Guinea. In the last ten years, BRIT is credited with discovering and adding more than 80 new plant species to its herbarium.