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Revitalising Ancient Forest Practices in the Amazon for Sustainable, Biodiversity-Friendly Futures

Revitalising Ancient Forest Practices

'Revitalising Ancient Forest Practices in the Amazon for Sustainable, Biodiversity-Friendly Futures’ is an Impact Case Study by Professor José Iriarte.

The Amazon rainforest is facing several threats to biodiversity, indigenous heritage and community identity. Professor Iriarte’s research has generated a long-term baseline for assessing these transformations. By facilitating and incentivising sustainable Amazonian land use, Professor Iriarte’s research has benefited marginalised communities in Bolivia and Brazil, in collaboration with Brazilian government’s environmental (ICMBio) and remote sensing institutions (INPE), with the following impacts:

  • Developing and incentivising sustainable land use in Amazonian indigenous communities and extractive reserves. These reserves are co-managed by local communities and national and regional authorities for activities such as Brazil nut, açai palm berries and organic rubber harvesting, as well as the provision of environmental services like carbon forest stock preservation.
  • Rekindling bio-cultural identity within local traditional communities, who now utilise their natural and cultural resources to generate crucial new revenue streams.
  • Supporting and empowering women and young people within traditional communities to lead new bio-cultural tourism programmes.
  • New creative outputs and public awareness of Amazonia's rich cultural history, as well as support for traditional Amazonian people's territorial claims, have been made possible through a series of media features, including a three-part documentary broadcast on Channel 4 and the Discovery Channel in the United States.

With support from a range of funders (ERC, AHRC-FAPESP, GCRF, Wenner-Gren Foundation, and National Geographic) Professor Iriarte has been exploring and documenting the rich cultural and environmental history of the Amazon forests.