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Forest Restoration in the Ecuadorian Amazon using Ancestral Practices


Strategic Area: Climate
Content Type: Blog
Country: Ecuador

We often hear about the devastating effects of deforestation and degradation on our planet and ask ourselves, what is there to be done? Indigenous communities in the Pastaza province of Ecuador are not standing idly by. With the help of Nature and Culture International, they have taken on a restoration project to restore their degraded lands and restore the functionality of these ecosystems.

Nature and Culture International, through the “Actions for the Amazon” project, supported by NORAD, has been carrying out activities that seek to prevent and reverse deforestation in the Ecuadorian Amazon, guaranteeing the rights and sustainable livelihoods of indigenous peoples and local communities.

The community chosen to be part of this project, Shuar Kawa, was selected from a list of priority areas for restoration by the Ministry of the Environment of Ecuador, due to the rate of deforestation and the need for intervention. In turn, the Plan for the implementation of measures and actions to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in the province of Pastaza (PdIPPz REDD+), incorporates restoration goals, to which we seek to contribute through this project.

People from the Shuar Kawa community actively participated in the project

The project began in September 2022, with the goal of restoring 95 hectares of degraded land. The community was consulted and actively involved in the decision-making process. With their consent, the project began with the strengthening of capacities in restoration of degraded areas and their alternate benefits, the construction of a temporary nursery for the propagation of 63 native species for the supply of seedlings that will later be established in areas of water interest and traditional system ” Chakras” – managed by indigenous communities.

It was emphasized that the activities that are carried out should include the women of the community, and thus, generate another temporary economic income, given their ancestral tradition of caring for the Chakras.

Women are traditionally in charge of caring the Chakras

“We did not come just to restore. By sharing and talking with the people of the communities, we have learned a lot, complementing the technical aspect with their culture and traditions”

says Amparo Lima, Restoration Specialist for NCI.

The project has been embraced by the communities and has blossom with the active participation of both men and women. By diversifying their production, the communities are benefiting from planting strategically selected trees and plants in their lands, allowing for the restoration of productive systems through the Chakras. This provides people with jobs, and an income for their work.

Restoration is important because it allows us to recuperate the structure and functionality of forests. By restoring the degrading areas, the quality and quantity of water collected for community consumption can be improved. So far, the project has been successful, having already restored 77 hectares of land. The communities’ enthusiasm and participation have been crucial in achieving this goal.

The fact that the project has been successful and embraced by the community serves as a model for other communities in Ecuador and beyond. By working together, communities and organizations can implement actions such as restoring degraded areas, reinforcing the role of women, strengthening communities, and protecting the planet. This project serves as an example of what is possible when we collaborate and take action to restore our natural world.