Quiénes Somos/About Us
Allyu del Norte/North Family: AAC
The effectiveness of AAC’s work is rooted in our trusting relationships with Indigenous Communities of the Ecuadorian Amazon. AAC collaborates with these Communities to maintain and restore ecological connectivity between the Andes Mountains and the Amazon Basin through community land-use planning, integrating traditional knowledge and modern technology to foster sovereign Indigenous land stewardship and sustainable land conservation.
The Amazon Andes Conservancy originated with the work of ethnoecologist Adam Gebb when he was living in Cuenca, Ecuador and exploring the Andes-Amazon region. Adam built relationships with Indigenous leaders, and went on many expeditions with them in the deep rainforest of the Pastaza region. These relationships became the foundation of what would become AAC.
AAC’s conservation model is rooted in Gebb’s 25-year of study in ethno-ecology, landscape connectivity and community land-use planning.
“I worked with professional trackers and conservationists and led expeditions around the world. We observed strikingly similar patterns of wildlife migration and the loss of these migrations everywhere we went. With loss of migration cames loss of biodiversity. Landscape connectivity all over the planet is being fragmented by unplanned human development. What is urgently needed are bio-corridors that are designed to maintain evolutionary processes and biodiversity.”
Preventing landscape fragmentation is the most cost effective and successful conservation solution in the world’s remaining functional ecosystems, the most important being the Amazon.
Hunters and elders recognized the historical patterns of wildlife migrations predating the recent expansion of human populations in the rainforest. They also noted a disconcerting decline in mammal populations over the past three decades. Their communities expressed a sincere desire to reverse this alarming trend, although were uncertain about how to do it.
This concern led to a series of dialogues on how these communities could prepare for their future, considering the challenges of a growing population while preserving their incredibly biodiverse ecosystems. These discussions evolved into a process of relationship building, eventually giving rise to a vision of an organization that would collaborate closely with Indigenous communities to establish an Indigenous-conceived and executed eco-cultural corridor.
Today, AAC remains dedicated to offering continuous professional training, resources, technology, and collaborative guidance to 75 communities engaged in the creation of this globally significant eco-cultural corridor.
The voice and agency of Indigenous Communities define the land-use choices that will guide healthy and sustainable village life for the next 100 years. AAC draws on the fields of Indigenous sovereignty, human rights, ethnoecology, wildlife migration and community land-use planning to employ a community-led process.
Our guiding principles include the following:
- Nature and culture must be viewed holistically as intertwined and interdependent.
- Given that 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity is on Indigenous lands, only they can protect the biodiversity. As such, we must defend the human rights of Indigenous Peoples.
- Community-led conservation must be based on the following guiding values and practices to be ethical, respectful, valid, and sustainable over the long-term: trusting relationships, local control, consensus decision-making, patience (having an open-ended time frame), long-term commitment, remuneration of community members for their time, and Indigenous-created learning goals.
- Women’s wisdom and leadership is a prerequisite for successful community planning.
- Landscape connectivity is a requirement for maintaining biodiversity, necessary for ecosystem health, key to genetic diversity and adapting to climate change (Convention on Migratory Species, CMS), and critical to the health and wellbeing of IPLCs.
- Landscape connectivity can only be realized by protecting and upholding the sovereign land rights, self-determination, and free, informed, and prior consent of IPLCs.