The "Cuencas Sagradas" project aims to restore forest cover in the southern Ecuadorian and northern Peruvian Amazon. The aim is also to support and strengthen the development of a regenerative economy within the indigenous communities of the Amazon.
The project at a glance
- Number of trees plantes : 300 000 trees
- Area of the plantation : 300 ha
- Planted species :
- Species for the conservation of the Amazon ecosystem (Ceiba, Caoba, Cedar, ...)
- Timber species (Chuncho, Balsa, Cascarillo, ...)
- Fruit species (Morete, Vanilla, White Cocoa, ...)
- Type of project : Forest restoration and agroforestry
The forest cover of the Ecuadorian Amazon and the ancestral knowledge it contains are constantly threatened due to intensive forest exploitation. In the region, deforestation and forest degradation are responsible for almost half of the country's greenhouse gas emissions. The loss of forest cover throughout the region affects the carbon sequestration capacity of the wood cover as well as people’s food security : the livelihoods of more than 600,000 indigenous people, who live in the region, are thus at risk.
The main objective of the project is to restore forest ecosystems, promote natural medicine as well as traditional and sustainable agroforestry techniques. The focus is on the introduction and preservation of native tree species, as well as on the planting of fruit trees and new species with high commercial value. In the long term, the planted trees will be managed sustainably and generate income for indigenous communities.
In Ecuador, the first phase will focus on the provinces of Pastaza and Morona Santiago. 300 hectares will be restored through the introduction of 300,000 trees including endemic species and medicinal plants. In Peru, the actions undertaken will focus on the social dimension of the restoration projects, by integrating the communities of the Awajún territory into the process. A study will be carried out to identify the skills that need to be strengthened among communities and new value chains will be developed.
Integrating and training local communities
The project will finance the creation of the Escuela Viva Amazónica (EVA), a CONFENIAE initiative that seeks to train and mentor young indigenous people in the techniques of regeneration, maintaining of agroforestry systems, sustainable management of edible forests and the transmission of knowledge in natural medicine. The EVA school will also be dedicated to structuring ancestral knowledge related to the use of herbs and nartural medicine, culture, history, art and music from the Amazon.
The first learning centre is dedicated to ancestral medicine and includes the creation of a local seed garden, a seed bank and a guide to medicinal plants. Students and elders will bring in seeds from different parts of the territory and help research rare varieties of medicinal herbs to formalise their use in an ancestral medicine guide. The guide will then be available to local community members.
New species to develop value chains
The project aims to support the development of value chains based on the management of traditional Chakra or Aja agroforestry systems used by traditional families. The restoration of forest cover in Ecuador will allow the inclusion of new species in the value chains. The value chains worked on in priority with the families will be vanilla, essential oils, macambo, patasmuyon, white cocoa, guayusa. Traditional chakra or aja products such as plantain and yucca will also be promoted. Initiatives in the field of ancestral medicine will be encouraged.