Guardians of the Amazon forest
Partner since 2018
The northeast Amazon is a region of more than 30 million hectares of pristine rainforest and is home to four indigenous tribes (the Trios, the Wayanas, the Wai-wais and the Wayampis) with as many as 24 tribal languages. The area is known as the eastern Guiana Shield. It covers the southern parts of Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana and crosses over into the northern part of Brazil. It’s one of the few remaining unspoiled wild places on earth. With over 1,500 vertebrate species and 6,500 plant species its biodiversity value is enormous.
However, the Guiana Shield is exposed to major threats like mining (especially small-scale gold mining), illegal logging and major infrastructure projects.
Research has shown repeatedly that areas in the Amazon controlled by indigenous people, have some of the lowest deforestation rates. The Amazon Conservation Team (ACT) partners with indigenous and other local communities to protect tropical forests and strengthen traditional culture.
Since 1996 ACT has been working with indigenous groups in southern Suriname on preserving culture, protecting ancestral lands, and safeguarding the rainforest. They also have mapped 10 million hectares. This provides the indigenous communities with a tool to support their land rights claims and make informed decisions on natural resource management.
Furthermore, through their Indigenous Park Ranger program, ACT has trained a force of 50 community members in a range of fieldwork skillsets including monitoring of environmental pressures, biodiversity and forestry research, and mapping.
All these initiatives must lead to a future where healthy tropical forests and thriving local communities exist in harmonious relationship with each other, contributing to the well-being of the planet.
Creating a biocultural corridor of 30 million hectares across the eastern Guiana Shield, managed by indigenous people in collaboration with the respective governments.
ACT wants to improve the decisionmaking process of local communities, allowing them autonomous and sustainable management of their territories. Our partner WRI has a powerful tool for data-driven storytelling. Their Resource Watch makes use of storytelling to record, recover and communicate oral histories of the communities and look for ways to use these in protecting the ancestral territories.
Mark Plotkin, renowned ethnobotanist and co-founder of ACT, aims with the program at the forest as a source of healing power and Amazonian indigenous communities taking control of their destiny. Read the interview.
In 2020 DOB Ecology made a field trip to the Surinamese Amazon, visiting the indigenous communities. CEO Maas Goote shares the highlights of this trip.