Shiwiar Territory
Planning Project

Creating a sustainable future for 550,000 acres of Amazon Rainforest

The Shiwiar Nation of the Ecuadorian Amazon wants a secure and sustainable future for their people and their 550,000-acre territory of ancient rainforest that sits near the border of Peru.

They are fighting back against the growing threat of oil exploration and extraction, which despoils watersheds and destroys the biodiversity that is essential to their livelihoods. They are inseparable from their highly diverse environment and know best how to preserve their lands and culture.

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Aerial view of the Conambo River in Shiwiar territory
Drone photo by Mark Fox
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Shiwiar houses in the village of Juyuintza.
Photo: Mark Fox

Across South America many areas are threatened by oil exploration and mining and most indigenous people including the Shiwiar were never consulted by the government for these activities in their territory.

In this groundbreaking project, AAC is collaborating with the Shiwiar to create a conservation land use plan and digital maps of the territory. They will be used to make their plans clear to those that would pollute and or damage the area.

One of the more defining elements of the Shiwiar territory is the Conambo river. The forests along the Conambo are overrun by yearly floods which create very complex forest age structures. A mosaic of old growth rainforests that contain a diversity of fruiting trees as well as low lying herbaceous growth sustains large populations of mammals such as tapir, capybara, black panthers and jaguars.

In addition, hundreds of ox bow ponds (old river beds) that range from ancient to just a few years old are in all stages of eutrophication. (Eutrophication is the process where ponds slowly fill with plants and plant debris and over a millennia evolve into wetlands, bogs and meadows) They also drive extremely high bio-diversity which ranges from tiny aquatic and semi-aquatic species at the base of the food chain on up to giant anacondas and crocodiles. The combination of river, pond, wetland and forest diversity in this area is tremendous.

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Drone photo of the Conambo river and nearby ox bow ponds
Photo: Mark Fox
Shiwiar Children play soccer in a torrential rain storm in the village of Tanguntsa.
Photo: Mark Fox

The outside developing world with its greed and corruption is threatening the ecological diversity that is the foundation of the Shiwiar culture. The Shiwiar Nation wants to conserve over 425,000 acres of ancient rainforest out of their total of 550,000 acres to create a secure and sustainable future. They are the true guardians of the rainforest and have only cut forests where they have gardens. Their deforestation rate is an extremely low 1.17%. Rainforests are essential to many native peoples that want to protect them and help to stabilize global climate.

The process has been very inspiring for both the Shiwiar and AAC as we help guide them through a process that clarifies sovereignty while planning for the sustainable stewardship of natural resources. The combination of documenting bio-corridors that are needed to maintain bio-diversity and culture along with the planning process that creates zoning maps and documents could form the foundation for stronger legal defense of indigenous territories anywhere in the world.

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Life on the Conambo River

Your gift will fund the completion of a conservation land use plan and help pay for transportation, fuel, GPS surveys and digital mapping. All are needed now to help make the Shiwiar dream of a sustainable green future a reality.

Working to protect a pristine territory and ancient culture

The Shiwiar Nation of the Ecuadorian Amazon wants a secure and sustainable future for their people and their 550,000-acre territory of ancient rainforest that sits near the border of Peru.

They are fighting back against the growing threat of oil exploration and extraction, which despoils watersheds and destroys the biodiversity that is essential to their livelihoods. They are inseparable from their highly diverse environment and know best how to preserve their lands and culture.

img
Aerial view of the Conambo River in Shiwiar territory
Drone photo by Mark Fox

Across South America many areas are threatened by oil exploration and mining and most indigenous people including the Shiwiar were never consulted by the government for these activities in their territory.

In this groundbreaking project, AAC is collaborating with the Shiwiar to create a conservation land use plan and digital maps of the territory. They will be used to make their plans clear to those that would pollute and or damage the area.

img
Shiwiar houses in the village of Juyuintza.
Photo: Mark Fox

One of the more defining elements of the Shiwiar territory is the Conambo river. The forests along the Conambo are overrun by yearly floods which create very complex forest age structures. A mosaic of old growth rainforests that contain a diversity of fruiting trees as well as low lying herbaceous growth sustains large populations of mammals such as tapir, capybara, black panthers and jaguars.

In addition, hundreds of ox bow ponds (old river beds) that range from ancient to just a few years old are in all stages of eutrophication. (Eutrophication is the process where ponds slowly fill with plants and plant debris and over a millennia evolve into wetlands, bogs and meadows) They also drive extremely high bio-diversity which ranges from tiny aquatic and semi-aquatic species at the base of the food chain on up to giant anacondas and crocodiles. The combination of river, pond, wetland and forest diversity in this area is tremendous.

img
Drone photo of the Conambo river and nearby ox bow ponds
Photo: Mark Fox

The outside developing world with its greed and corruption is threatening the ecological diversity that is the foundation of the Shiwiar culture. The Shiwiar Nation wants to conserve over 425,000 acres of ancient rainforest out of their total of 550,000 acres to create a secure and sustainable future. They are the true guardians of the rainforest and have only cut forests where they have gardens. Their deforestation rate is an extremely low 1.17%. Rainforests are essential to many native peoples that want to protect them and help to stabilize global climate.

Shiwiar Children play soccer in a torrential rain storm in the village of Tanguntsa.
Photo: Mark Fox

The process has been very inspiring for both the Shiwiar and AAC as we help guide them through a process that clarifies sovereignty while planning for the sustainable stewardship of natural resources. The combination of documenting bio-corridors that are needed to maintain bio-diversity and culture along with the planning process that creates zoning maps and documents could form the foundation for stronger legal defense of indigenous territories anywhere in the world.

img
Life on the Conambo River

Your gift will fund the completion of a conservation land use plan and help pay for transportation, fuel, GPS surveys and digital mapping. All are needed now to help make the Shiwiar dream of a sustainable green future a reality.