Mission: To protect the Amazon rainforest. Our approach is to work with local traditional and indigenous communities, supporting their projects to become self-sufficient, while protecting the natural resources around them.
Species: Fauna and flora of the Amazon rainforest.
Location: Xixuaú-Xiparina region, Amazon.
Amount donated: £2,500 towards equipement, travel expenses and salaries for researchers.
Background: The Amazon Charitable Trust was set up in January 2009, with a mission to protect the Amazon rainforest. The project works with local traditional and indigenous communities, supporting their projects to become self-sufficient, while protecting the natural resources around them.
The project has a unique approach believing that the endangered ecosystems of the Amazon will be best conserved by encouraging the development of local communities that are genuinely sustainable, providing dignity and quality of life. This philosophy is motivated by the fact that no conservation activity can be successful without the support of the inhabitants of an endangered area. Destruction of the Amazon is down to poverty, hunger and disease. The Amazon Charitable Trust takes a holistic approach by working in partnership with communities that are addressing those issues, in order to protect their livelihoods and ensure the survival of fauna and flora. The project also works to promote innovative, entrepreneurial approaches, and support research to understand the richness of the Amazon ecosystems. Over time the Amazon Charitable Trust expects to develop as an 'umbrella' organisation for environmental projects across the Amazon.
The principles of the project are to; Ensure the protection of the Amazon rainforest by working in partnership with local projects and communities; take a community development approach that is economically sustainable, while enabling local people to preserve their natural resources; and work towards the long-term goal of self-sufficient communities in the Amazon.
Achievements:The trust is currently working in partnership with the Xixuaú Cooperative, a Brazilian organisation, in developing sustainable livelihoods within the Xixuaú Xiparina region, near the equator. The first action of the Association was the establishment of an informal protected area on the Xixuaú and Xiparina rivers, as the forests were undamaged by human activity. This was done by pooling the land rights from the local inhabitants and incorporating them into the Association. After a long campaign by the local communities, the Xixuaú Xiparina region will now be formally protected and its size increased from 178,000 hectares to 600,000 hectares. This will form the Lower Rio Branco - Jauaperi Extractivist Reserve (known as a Resex). The Amazon Charitable Trust aims to help make it the first profitable extractivist reserve in Roraima State.
Today, the Xixuaú-Xiparina region is under the management and protection of a Co-operative (CoopXixuaú). Formed by the local inhabitants of the region in February 2010, this was in response to the need for a legally established social enterprise, focused on the continued conservation of the area and sustainable living for the local inhabitants. Communities under this Association have already successfully built a school, a health post, a fresh-water supply and connected to the world with a solar-powered satellite internet connection. New economic opportunities like eco-tourism, film-hosting, forest product enterprises were introduced and traditional 'maloca' huts for eco-tourists were constructed, all helping create sustainable livelihoods within the rainforest. All proceeds from these economic activities are shared amongst the local people who all jointly own the land in the reserve. This means that they all benefit from protection of the forest and defend it together, as key to their families' local culture, education, economic and physical health.
Future objectives: The CoopXixuaú believes that while only the local people are in a position to offer protection to the forest, the support of government agencies is vital to ensure a permanent solution to the threats that the area faces. Along with local and national NGOs, the CoopXixuaú are actively working to strengthen the protection of the Xixuaú-Xiparina region, expanding it to become a legally defined conservation area: the Lower Rio Branco-Jauaperi Extractivist Reserve (Resex). The Resex will be a conservation unit that ensures permanent rights of residency to the families living in the forest, along with guaranteeing them the rights to manage the natural resources in carefully defined, sustainable ways, in order to generate income and improve their quality of life. The Resex will play a strategic role in larger national efforts to preserve the Amazon rainforest. Many animals that are endangered across the region are frequently seen in the reserve, including Giant Otters: a recent scientific study recorded 43 mammal species within the area. This planned expansion of the protected area to 1.5 million acres along the Rio Jauaperi will make it one of the largest conservation projects in northern Brazil.