New life to the forests

Chinchipe river basin, Amazon

The Chinchipe River basin is located on the border between Peru and Ecuador, at the source of the Amazon River. Pastures that resemble natural water sponges can be found in this area. This is where the cloud forests of the mountainous Amazon region begin. They make up the ecosystem in which the largest source of drinking water of our planet is generated drop by drop.

This impressively beautiful landscape is home to some 162,000 peasant farmers, the majority from the mountains of Peru and Ecuador. Living in poverty, these communities earn a £1 a day through the small-scale production of coffee and timber. Barely sustainable, these activities are also destructive, mainly because of the brittleness of the soil and the steep slopes.

Practical Action is helping the Chinchipe communities to protect their environment while, at the same time, improving their livelihoods. This project will assist more than 1,000 farming families who have migrated to the Amazon jungle and aid in the safeguarding of some 100,000 hectares of forests located around their settlements.

Practical Action is working with poor farmers to produce fruit, and better and more coffee at a higher price while taking care of native plants and animals. With the help of trained local "promoters", we are also working with small timber producers to be trained in forest certification and sustainable management, including fruits and medicine plants and how to use portable sawmills. It is expected that, as a result of changed practices, the small producers will be able to increase the yield of wood by 20%, with income increasing by the same proportion. Overall, nearly 150,000 hectares of forests in Ecuador and Peru will be preserved in two important protected areas.

Video: Our work in the cloud forests

For full details of this project (in Spanish) please see the project website at, or an automated English translation

See also Sustainable coffee farming for high value for poor small-scale producers

Tropical forests

Practical Action seeks to improve the livelihoods of poor people in tropical forest ecosystems through the development and use of agroforestry technologies, conservation and sustainable management of natural resources.

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