Amazon Conservation Association: who they are and what they do
Here at Qara we strive to exist in harmony with nature, which is why we donate a percentage of our sales to the Amazon Conservation Association. A non-profit with over twenty years' experience protecting the Amazon, they work to empower local communities to safeguard their own lands while also focusing on advancing conservation research through technology.
Ana Folhadella, Communications and Development Manager at the association, tells us about its origins and their on-the-ground conservation efforts.
“Around the 1980s, the burning of the rainforest in Brazil became a global topic. That’s when we first started hearing about the Amazon being the lungs of the world and about all the threats it was facing. And while the world was focused on that, our co-founders Adrian Forsyth and Enrique Ortiz went in the opposite direction: they focused on the source of the Amazon, the headwaters, where the rivers actually begin,” explains Folhadella.
From the place to the people
The founders recognized the importance of working with locals from the beginning, which is why their first project supported Brazil nut harvesters in Peru as an incentive for them to protect the rainforest. “That evolved into our Productive Forests Strategy, through which we are helping thousands of people to make sure they have a sustainable way of life,” says Folhadella.
Later, they began focusing on using science and technology to aid their conservation efforts, which today is one of their strong points. “It’s been an evolution: starting in the headwaters of the Amazon, we have been making sure to take a holistic approach. That includes people too, so we’re not just focusing on protecting the environment, but also on the relationship between humans and nature,” she continues.
The power of local alliances
The Amazon basin encompasses over 5 million km² and 8 countries, and the association is present, whether physically or through alliances, in Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil. So they recognize the immense size of the challenge and have found a way to tackle it.
In Folhadella’s words: “We know one organization cannot save the entire Amazon, so we want to build partnerships with people that have already been on the ground for decades, organizations with similar goals to ours, so we can accomplish this unified vision of the Amazon.”