Sustainable Agroforestry Program

Above is a picture of the northeastern Peruvian Amazon and the proposed greater Yavarí reserve. The area bounded by the upper left half of the white dotted line and the black dotted line is the ACRCTT.

One of our initiatives is funding a sustainable agroforestry program for the Área de Conservación Regional Comunal Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo (ACRCTT). This program is run by the Rainforest Conservation Fund, an organization that works primarily in the 1,000,000 acre (thats over 200,000 acres larger than Yosemite National Park!), ACRCTT, which is located in lowland Amazon rainforest near the city of Iquitos in Loreto, Peru. This vast region of the Peruvian Amazon is one of the most biodiverse places on Earth.

The replenishing headwaters of the Amazon river flow from these forests, and an immense cultural and biological diversity of native peoples, and unique plants and animals rely on this highly productive ecosystem. Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo contains more species of primates than any other place on Earth, and in just one hectare of forest you can find more species of trees than in all of North America. Unfortunately, the forests of Loreto are threatened by oil and gas exploration, palm oil plantations, river dams, cattle ranches and unsustainable resource extraction including illegal logging and overharvesting of palms.

Boats, beach, and forest on the Amazon river

Communal reserves are a relatively new solution to conserving forests in the Amazon. Much of the time, governments are scared to create national parks because they exclude the possibility for human development within the area. Communal reserves are a great solution because they incorporate the local populations into the conservation plan. These reserves help the local communities to sustainably manage their resources, while also preserving the surrounding rainforest ecosystems. One of the most important factors for a successful communal reserve is an ecologically sustainable source of income for the people living in it. A large source of income for the villagers comes from picking wild fruits. These fruits are also very important for many animals. One very popular fruit is from a palm called Aguaje. Unfortunately much of the natural Aguaje swamps are being lost because harvesters cut down and kill the palms just to get one bunch of fruit. This sustainable agroforestry program plants Aguaje gardens for communities and teaches them how to climb the palms to pick the fruits instead of cutting them down. This allows the trees to continue producing fruit for humans and animals alike. All human development doesn’t have to be bad. Studies show that small-scale agriculture, when practiced sustainably, can actually increase local species diversity. Much of the Amazon rainforest is in fact an anthropogenic forest shaped by human use over thousands of years.
Maijuna woman climbing an Aguaje palm with one of the locally made climbing devices.

Aguaje fruits with their scale-like exocarp

 

http://www.rainforestconservation.org/25

Here is some more information about sustainable Aguaje palm harvesting in Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo

http://www.rainforestconservation.org/articles/aguaje-palm-its-importance-to-ecology-and-economy-in-the-peruvian-amazon

An article about conserving forest with the local people

http://www.rainforestconservation.org/articles/people-in-the-forest

A villager near the town of Chino, in the ACRCTT, standing next to an Aguaje Palm (Mauritia flexuosa)

Villagers from the Tahuayo river

 

 

Below are just a few of the amazing animals that live in the ACRCTT.

Pink Dolphins (Inia geoffrensis)

Jaguar (near threatened)

Giant Otters (endangered)

Red Uakari monkey (Cacajao calvus) vulnerable

Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja) near threatened

Jaguar cub (Panthera onca)

 

 

 

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