Brazil's Amazon Juma reserve is home to a pioneering scheme. It could play a key role in reducing deforestation emissions and become an example for other nations at the upcoming Copenhagen climate change summit.
Families in this tiny settlement are paid about $30 dollars a month to act as guardians of the forest, the only project of its kind in Brazil.
The monthly stipend is funded by contributions from the Marriott Hotels chain, Coca Cola and the Brazilian bank Bradesco.
Amazonas state Governor Eduardo Braga has more than doubled the protected forest in the state since 2003 to an area the size of Kuwait.
[Eduardo Braga, Amazonas state Governor]:
"What the world needs to understand is that we have done our house cleaning, valued the forest as much as we can, tested good practice and now we need a response or the people will end up pressuring the forest for survival.”
The program could be expanded to 60,000 families by 2014 or about half the population living in the state's vast forest.
In Amazonas, however, not everyone sees Juma as a model to follow.
Brazilian critics say it risks making high levels of Amazon deforestation acceptable. Brazil's government this month trumpeted the lowest deforestation rate in two decades, but the 7,000 square km (2,700 sq miles) cut down in the year to August was still equivalent to six New York cities.
Despite falling deforestation rates, scientists say the forest is still headed for a "tipping point" as early as mid-century. At that point it’s possible that climate change could turn large parts of it into savannah.