Mission: The mission of the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT) is to work in partnership with indigenous people to conserve biodiversity, improve human and ecosystem health, and fortify traditional culture in tropical America.
Results: Over recent years, ACT and its indigenous partners have:
• Mapped and surveyed over 70 million acres of ancestral Amazon forests
• Support over 100 traditional shamans (healers) and their apprentices
• Established the first network of Amazonian female shamans
• Designed and implementation the first Amazonian indigenous park ranger training programs
• Established over 50 community gardens and over 1,000 acres of sustainable agriculture containing nearly 800 traditional crops
• Launched the Isolated Tribes Initiative to protect both uncontacted Indians and their forests
• Established a highly successful Shamans and Apprentices Clinics in the northeast Amazon
Target demographics: Preserve the world's largest rainforest and the indigenous people who call it home. To mitigate global warming, it is critical to focus on preventing tropical deforestation in the Amazon.
Direct beneficiaries per year: Protect isolated tribes of the Amazon with research that resulted in important new legislation protecting these tribes who have chosen to remain uncontacted. This work established a new awareness about the importance of the forests these groups inhabit. The critical importance of safeguarding these forests is reflected is the Colombian Government's commitment to expand the borders of Chiribiquete National Park to 10,734 square miles, larger than the size of the state of Massachusetts.
Geographic areas served: Northwest and Northeast Amazon
Programs: Collaboration with local communities ensures the lasting protection of biodiversity and traditional culture of the rainforest. Support for the Yachaikury Ethno-Education School allows students to learn first-hand the sustainable farming techniques that allow them to grown their own food, contribute to the food resources of surrounding communities, and provide an economic base. ACT is now financing and advising an effort to strengthen the school's infrastructure, including the construction of climate-controlled classrooms and new dormitories. Other programs include sponsorship of indigenous park guard programs and incorporation of indigenous park guards into the governmental park protection systems. In Suriname, ACT provides training for a group of indigenous women engaged in a sustainable income generation project focusing on pepper merchandising. In partnering with indigenous people, ACT programs protect one of our most valuable resources, the Amazon rainforest.
ACT is committed to protecting vulnerable groups and to guarantee their right to isolation in the Amazon’s most remote and intact forests. Our strategy (including on-the-ground monitoring alongside local tribes, satellite forest imaging and mapping, and research) focuses on protecting these rainforests against intruders. The more I learn of ACT's great work the more I want to make sure that this organization is sustained and has the infrastructure to grow and affect even more tribal peoples in the Amazon.
Time and again, the Amazon Conservation Team has shown dedication to conservation not only because of its practical applications and implications, but because they truly believe that everyone bears responsibility for the well-being of the natural world. The team works on the ground and partners directly with the indigenous tribes to accomplish so much with a lean, effective, proven methodology, and it continues to establish unprecedented milestones for the preservation of the world's largest rainforest.
In their words, "the Amazon Conservation Team seeks to steadily increase the number of indigenous peoples in Amazonia able to monitor, sustainably manage, and protect their traditional forestlands." In my experience, the team's commitment to and passion for their mission is second to none. Check them out and get involved at http://www.amazonteam.org/.