Rubber tapping

A man leans against a rubber tree he is tapping © Simon Rawles / WWF-UK

Native Amazonian wild rubber is a forest-friendly product. Rubber trees grow wild in the Amazon rainforest and their sap (known as latex) can be extracted without damaging the trees.

Traditionally, it’s enabled many people in Acre to make a fair living, while keeping the forest standing.

Unfortunately, competition from cheaper synthetics and less sustainable plantation rubber from Asia have forced Amazonian rubber off the market.

We're working to reverse this with new and innovative wild rubber production units inside the forest itself, to help make rubber tapping in Acre’s Amazon profitable again.

That's good news for local people, but also for the rainforest and the species that live there. By enabling local people make a fair living from sustainable products, we can provide a real alternative to destructive practices like cattle ranching and logging.

How we're helping

Watch the story of sustainable rainforest rubber

To date, WWF and Sky, working with the Acre government, have helped to construct 37 new rubber processing units and to provide training in how to use them. This new technology allows tappers to create FDL (the Portuguese acronym for smoked liquid sheet latex) – a high quality, semi-processed sheet of rubber.

Because FDL is already partially processed, it can be sold straight to product manufacturers.  Previously, tappers would have to sell their raw liquid latex onto a processing plant for less money.  This made it virtually impossible to make a fair living from rubber tapping.

FDL is today more profitable per kilo than beef, making it a viable alternative to deforestation. But the start-up costs are high so we're providing the basic technology and training needed to start making it.

Meet an Acre rubber tapping family.

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