Our Conservation Partner, Yakum

Yakum is proud to be Celebrate Planet Earth’s conservation partner. We are working in Ecuador, to empower the Shuar, Kichwa, Siekopai and Cofan indigenous groups to continue protecting their over 1 million acres of Amazon forests as they have done for centuries. Their culture and way of life depends on the survival of the rainforests, and in turn these forests depend on the protection they receive from these people. Often we hear from our project participants that they would like to continue conserving their forests, but would also like to have three good meals to eat a day, and income to be able to send their children to college. To respond to this widespread request, Yakum has built 18 working nurseries, germinated thousands of plants, representing 100 local native species. The trees are then planted during community work “mingas” to replace degraded areas with “Food Forests” to produce food for animals and people. The next steps will be to work on organic soil improvement, and then food processing and product sales.

We have also started on the production of eight useful handcraft species in a special nursery, with the Cofan women’s association in Dureno. Here we will plant a one acre “Handcrafts Garden” startingwith at least twenty key species for making the beautiful Cofan handcrafts. Yakum has also provided Geographic Information System training for young Siekopai who are mapping the most vital points in their 18,000 hectare rainforest, which they plan to conserve as a protected area.

Each of the four nationalities is protecting large areas of Amazon rainforest, and faces serious threats. The Cofan and Siekopai have been heavily impacted by decades of oil production, mining, cattle grazing and African Oil Palm production. The Kichwa have recently regained control of some of the territories lost to fraudulent government land offices, and are allowing these areas to return to forests. The Shuar have successfully steadfastly prevented the entrance of mining and oil production into their forests.

We would like to raise the profile of the Shuar, Cofan, Kichwa and Shuar so that children in the United States know that there are people here who care about and are taking care of their rainforests. With all of you, and our indigenous collaborators here, we will “celebrate planet earth.”

Preparing an acai palm for planting.

Selecting seedlings for planting

Building on the legacy of the Siekopai elders

Planting a food forest for the community

A monkey in the forest

A tree nursery at the local school

Reviewing maps of the Siekopai territory