What Does Forest Protection Actually Look Like?

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For Go Green Day 2021, Size of Wales is raising money for the amazing forest communities we work with.

There are many ways forest communities can protect their tropical forests from deforestation. The situation from country to country, and forest to forest can vary so much so it is important to understand the situation and the threats. Each community takes this into account when building their forest protection plans.

With this in mind, we’ll share just some of those activities your fundraising will support this Go Green Day:

Community meetings for gathering and sharing local knowledge to understand what is driving deforestation and to agree on the best course of action.

 Mapping forests including documenting villages, sacred sites, farming plots, and hunting and fishing spots.

Monitoring lands for cases of deforestation, or illegal mining or logging and then taking action as and when cases occur.

 Legal training and action for communities to have the right to their lands legally recognised.

 Developing and strengthening autonomous indigenous organisations.

Awareness-raising locally, nationally, and internationally such as advocacy, public events and storytelling.

 Improving the community’s access to information, including accessing the internet and radio transmissions.

Strengthening cultural and spiritual practices. This could include the sharing of ancestral knowledge and science, and documenting this. Some examples could be, the use of traditional medicinal plants; preserving native languages; or knowledge exchanges between elders and youth, including the valuable knowledge and experience held by the women of the community. Protecting the culture of a forest community goes hand in hand with protecting the land they live on.

 Developing sustainable livelihoods and improving living conditions. For example, farming locally found produce, such as coffee or cacao, or setting up farming co-ops that provide a source of income, promotes environmentally friendly practices and supports a community to be more self-sufficient.

Implementing farming practices that increase harvests, reduces the amount of (deforested) agricultural land required, provides better food security and more nutritional diets.

That is why we have to look after and protect this space because
we can sell handicrafts and earn an income, make remedies for our
health and save for our children’s studies.”
– Anita Serempo, Wampis Leader

Vicki Brown FPP
Kathia Carrillo

 

Spotlight on a forest community: the Wampís Nation in Peru

The Wampís have a vast territory of 1.3 million hectares. They have mapped their entire territory, marking out the boundaries of their ancestral land including where the rivers are, where the mountains are, where they go to seek guidance from their ancestors, and where the good agricultural land is. As part of this ongoing mapping exercise – and just as importantly – they log evidence of illegal logging and gold mining, and oil fields marked for extraction. The Wampís, with support from Size of Wales, Forest Peoples Programme and other partners, received training and equipment to monitor, record, and use all of this data in ways that help them protect their forests; take legal action; or evict illegal miners and loggers.

“What we have seen is that it is not only illegal mining that affects
the forest. Even legal mining pollutes our forests and water.”
– Wrays Perez

They also successfully campaigned for the oil company, GeoPark to withdraw its participation from a project that was to begin extracting oil within their territory which, had it gone ahead, would have led to major environmental damage such as deforestation and water pollution; and health issues caused by contaminated food sources.

The work is led by the Autonomous Territorial Government of the Wampís Nation (GTANW) who meet with the community to discuss issues and solutions. The significance of the Wampís’ territory to climate protection in Peru and internationally is immense. In only two years, the Wampís’ territory is estimated to capture carbon, equivalent to 10 years of Peru’s carbon reduction targets.

The statistics speak for themselves. Deforestation rates are lower in areas occupied by Indigenous Peoples. Therefore, it is vital that we continue to support Indigenous Peoples such as the Wampís who are the guardians of the world’s forests and who continue to contribute to global climate protection.

“If we, the Wampís can work to conserve all of this forest and have what the world needs, we could become the source of life for humanity. Our grandparents, without having gone to university, were able to put into practice ‘Tarimat Pujut’ which means good living. Good living means to have everything, to live in peace…You live in freedom with everything you need. You have your land, your chickens, a healthy forest, clean air. That is good living.”
– Wrays Perez, former leader of the GTANW

 

Photo: Vicki Brown

 

We have other products in the region…Bananas and cacao are our flagship products that the community produce. This is the way we
can think of alternatives so that members of the community don’t
only think of asking for help and are waiting for aid and have to
give their children junk food.”
– Wrays Perez

 

Fascinating Facts – why we need to protect forests that are standing:
  • An area of rainforest twice the size of Singapore is destroyed in the Peruvian Amazon each year.
  • The Wampís territory is equivalent to an area larger than the metropolitan region of France.
  • Careful management of their land across generations has resulted in a very low deforestation rate, with forest loss occurring in only 0.91% of their territory.
  • The Wampís lack the land titles to more than two-thirds of their territory exposing their forests to the threats.
  • Wampís’ forests store 145 million tonnes of carbon. This is 600% of Peru’s current target as part of the UN climate process.
  • The Wampís’ territory is estimated to capture 57 million tonnes of carbon which in only two years is the equivalent to Peru’s 10-year carbon reduction targets by 2030.

We have looked to our ancestors who had their own governance system.
Thanks to this system, we can still see this biodiverse forest that we have
here today.”
– Wrays Perez

Click here to donate to Go Green Day and support tropical forests. Each pound will be matched and have double the impact!

 

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