Edible Forest Initiative

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Edible forest initiative, led by Enrique Inga

The Ecuadorian Amazon has a vast biodiversity of natural forest resources that have been ancestrally used and cultivated by indigenous peoples for thousands of years. Sadly, with the recent entry of modern farming techniques, many of these forest species are threatened. Non-indigenous farming practices which extract from the land without replenishing that which has been taken, have decimated natural forests in the developed portions of Ecuador.

Forests in their natural state provide essential ecological roles: maintaining water catchment and preserving the springs and phreatic mantles, which mitigates flooding of the soil. However, human processes such as the expansion of the agricultural frontier, the demand for timber in national and world markets, civil works, and mining projects have caused marked deforestation and therefore the loss of biodiversity, which has had huge environmental impacts.

We propose alternatives to mitigate these environmental damages by planting wild fruits and Amazonian medicinal plants that were previously abundant in the forest communities.

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This project aims to attract and support wildlife, by planting thousands of hectares of edible forests, medicinal plants and others of cultural value, which will help strengthen the migration of insects and larger wildlife within a large bio-corridor. This edible forest project will rescue several native fruit species, a traditional Indigenous food source, which are currently at risk of extinction. By replanting traditional foods and fibers, we not only strengthen local indigenous culture, but also improve their diet by providing food security, since most of these communities have a high rate of malnutrition. The renaturalization of the ecosystem will begin with planting nurseries of many native varieties of trees and plants in key areas for wildlife migration.

We are very excited about this initiative, and will provide updates throughout the process.

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