Shiwiar Territory
Planning Project

Creating a sustainable future for 450,000 acres of Amazon Rainforest

The Shiwiar Nation of the Ecuadorian Amazon wants a secure and sustainable future for their people and their 450,000-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

The leadership of the Shiwiar in the Ecuadorian Amazon is collaborating with the Andes Amazon Conservancy to develop conservation plans for their territory.

In western countries planning is taken for granted and allows communities and nations to respond to threats and seize opportunities. Across south America many areas are threatened by oil exploration or mining but most indigenous people including the Shiwiar have no maps showing their land use goals. In this groundbreaking project a conservation plan for the Shiwiar territory is being created.

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

To protect indigenous peoples from the greed and corruption of the modern world, we have to help them save the ecological diversity which forms the foundation of their cultures. The Shiwiar Nation wants permanent conservation for over 350,000 acres of ancient rainforest out of their total of 450,000 acres.

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 digital mapping and a conservation plan for the Shiwiar territory. Together we will make it clear to the outside world how the Shiwiar plan to create a sustainable future for their people and pristine territory.

Creating a sustainable future for 450,000 acres of Amazon Rainforest

The Shiwiar Nation of the Ecuadorian Amazon wants a secure and sustainable future for their people and their 450,000-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

The leadership of the Shiwiar in the Ecuadorian Amazon is collaborating with the Andes Amazon Conservancy to develop conservation plans for their territory.

In western countries planning is taken for granted and allows communities and nations to respond to threats and seize opportunities. Across south America many areas are threatened by oil exploration or mining but most indigenous people including the Shiwiar have no maps showing their land use goals. In this groundbreaking project a conservation plan for the Shiwiar territory is being created.

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

To protect indigenous peoples from the greed and corruption of the modern world, we have to help them save the ecological diversity which forms the foundation of their cultures. The Shiwiar Nation wants permanent conservation for over 350,000 acres of ancient rainforest out of their total of 450,000 acres.

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 digital mapping and a conservation plan for the Shiwiar territory. Together we will make it clear to the outside world how the Shiwiar plan to create a sustainable future for their people and pristine territory.