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CENTRO DE INVESTIGACION DE LOS BOSQUES TROPICALES (CIBT)
In 1986, the RAINFOREST INFORMATION CENTRE (RIC) received a request from the Awa people, an indigenous community in western Ecuador, asking for assistance in protecting their lands. RIC volunteers subsequently assisted the Awa to negotiate for their land rights, to demarcate their lands through establishing a productive border that would provide food and fiber for the Awa, and clearly and permanently show the boundaries of their lands. The Awa now have title to a 247,000 acre Ethnic Forest Reserve.
Further requests for assistance from indigenous groups in Ecuador led to the establishment in 1991 of a local Rainforest Information Centre there, the CENTRO DE INVESTIGACION DE LOS BOSQUES TROPICALES (CIBT). Since that time we have been involved with many other projects which have protected over 2.4 MILLION ACRES of rainforest.
The first executive director was long-time RIC volunteer Douglas Ferguson. In the years that CIBT/RIC have been working in Ecuador, we have assisted with programs and initiated projects and processes that include the following:* Assisting the Awa People for three years with the demarcation of their 100,000 hectare Ethnic Forest Reserve. ii) Co-ordinating with and assisting the first black community in Ecuador to receive communal legal title on ethnic grounds. iii) Co-ordinating and creating sustainable timber management plans with the communities of El Pan and Arenales. This project is now managed and funded by the British Overseas Development Agency and the 'Unidad Tecnica Ecuatoriana del Plan Awa' with the Ministry of Exterior Relations.
* Los Cedros Biological Reserve - Establishment of 15,800 acres as a legal and physical entity. The Los Cedros Reserve provides habitat for monkeys, bears, armadillos, pumas and jaguars, now studied by scientists from around the world. The project site was strategically chosen to halt the colonization, poaching and illegal logging that have been undermining the adjacent Cotocachi-Cayapas in spite of it's status as an Ecuadorian national park and a UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Reserve. The approximately half million acre Cotocachi-Cayapas National Park contains the most diverse forest on Earth and represents the crown of the biota of western Ecuador. John Seed's diary
Volunteer Opportunities at Los Cedros
* Huaorani nation - Assisted the Huaorani to gain title to over 1.5 million acres of virgin rainforest, more than 1/3 of their ancestral lands. Together, RIC/CIBT worked with the Huaorani on the physical demarcation of 92 kilometers of the legal boundary of their land along the frontier of greatest pressure from colonisation. This work took more than 2 years in the jungle with machetes and axes and up to 50 Huaorani plus several RIC/CIBT volunteers. CIBT also co-ordinated the purchase of land from and successful resettlement of colonists living within the legalised Huaorani Territory. The work of RIC/CIBT over 6 years with the Huaorani people also included building community centers and negotiating with oil companies.
* Napo Galeras National Park - Worked with the indigenous foundation Izhu Mangallpa Urcu (IMU) to create the Napo Galeras National Park in the following ways 1)Assisted the Indigenous Foundation IMU to establish itself legally and to create the IMU centre whose aim is to protect the Napo Galeras National Park as a sacred site according to indigenous tradition. 2)Worked with IMU to coordinate communication with the communities surrounding Galeras in order to reach consensus on the need to participate actively in the protection of Galeras. 3)Completed the socio-geographic studies and consultation with local communities necessary to establish the current boundaries of the Galeras National Park. 4) Assisted in the physical demarcation of the first 20 km of the park's boundary. 5) Purchased land and resettled in better conditions, colonists from 4,200 acres of what has now become the Galeras National Park. Two AusAid NGOEI funded eco-centres are being set up near Galeras and are being used as community meeting places to revitalize indigenous cultural practices which promote preservation and sustainable use of the rainforest for building, fiber, medicine, food and cultural pursuits. John Seed's diary
San Lorenzo - Establishment of a five hectare model plot for integrated agriculture within the city of San Lorenzo with the infrastructure necessary to establish the 'Madre Selva' (Forest Mother) Permaculture Institute. The Mayor of San Lorenzo who also wants to start an environment committee in his local government), pleaded with us for more permaqculture programs there. Some of the world's most intact mangrove forests are found nearby and these are under extreme threat largely through unsus-tainable agriculture . Over population and deforestation (for timber and now also palm oil plantations) are some of the other problems there. The San Lorenzo Centre has the potential to welcome representatives from communities for permaculture train-ing and environmental awareness. It can supply seeds and seed-lings. Trainers from the centre could also travel to communities for workshops. MORE INFO
* Cayambe - CIBT assisted the marginalized indian community of Chiti Chaca to construct a school and establish a 2.5 acre permaculture model. CIBT also assisted in the creation of a nursery of native trees and establishment of a small integrated household model of permaculture. MORE INFO?
* Coordinated with and assisted the first black community in Ecuador to receive communal legal title on ethnic grounds.
* Coordinating and creating sustainable timber management plans with the communities of El Pan and Arenales. This project is now being managed and funded by the British Overseas Development Agency and the 'Unidad Tecnica Ecuatoriana del Plan Awa' as an extension of the activities of the Ministry of Exterior Relations.
* Establishment of an 12 acre model plot for integrated agriculture within the city of San Lorenzo with the infrastructure necessary to establish the 'Madre Selva' (Forest Mother) Permaculture Institute.
CIBT EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS
* Permaculture Program - CIBT has established a process of working according to permaculture principles in the three main regions in Ecuador (coast, sierra and Amazonia). Over four hundred people from many walks of life have participated in CIBT's two week seminars, which offer both theory and practical training. The last of these seminars in April 1994 hosted participants from twenty two countries and was held at the IMU centre. CIBT has also conducted many mini-seminars for isolated communities. The principles of permaculture are not used to impose a methodology, but to analyse current practice and seek more sustainable ways of working in areas where traditional practice has been eroded. Four regional permaculture tree nurseries have been set up to provide models to colonist communities and teach a sustainable agriculture based on fruit, nut, fire and fodder trees as an alternative to the expanding frontier of forest clearance and cattle grazing
* 'All Species Project' - This is a process of education in the schools that culminates in "All Species Day", a day or more of pageantry with the whole community participating. The first of these took place in 1993 in San Lorenzo followed in 1994 in Cayambe in the Sierra and in 1995 in the Amazon headwaters.
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Last Updated: 17 Feb2006