Amazon Land Purchase Project
Supporting Indigenous Amazonian peoples protects the rainforest. Satellite images clearly show that deforestation in Indigenous territories in Brazil is less than in other areas.
Within the last years, however, invasions of protected areas and Indigenous territories have become more severe. Weak law enforcement and the lack of will to expand protected areas are posing a threat to biodiversity and local people.
This development has shown that that conservation cannot be solely dependent on the state. Currently, the acquisition of private land, managed by local communities, is one of the most effective solutions for the protection of the forest and its inhabitants.
In 2018, we therefore launched the Land Purchase Initiative. The project aims to create a protected area for the Indigenous Huni Kuin.
Together with our partners in Brazil, the Instituto Yubekã (formerly Yuxin), we are buying an area of 16,800 hectares (roughly the size of Mannheim, Germany) in the municipality of Jordão, state of Acre, Brazil. The land consists mostly of primary forest and will enhance the existing Huni Kuin territories.
Uncontacted Indigenous Groups
There are groups of Indigenous peoples who fled across the border to Peru after first contact with rubber collectors and have been living in isolation ever since. Over the past years, they have been pushed back to Brazil due to mining activities.
The land to be purchased will serve as a buffer zone between the contacted and uncontacted groups.
The project is a model area for innovative, holistic community-based conservation. It is based on five pillars:
- BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION: The area is large enough to allow sustainable hunting and fishing. The project is accompanied scientifically with a management plan including biodiversity monitoring
- SECURING LIVELIHOODS AND SELF-DETERMINATION: Access to land is intrinsically connected to health and well-being. The Huni Kuin take the decisions related to the land themselves.
- PROTECTING THE CLIMATE: 1ha of preserved Amazon Forest secures up to 250t of CO2 per year. Also, intact forests guarantee rainfall in large parts of South America.
- EMPOWERING WOMEN: The project supports women's organizational structures. Women play a leading role in all decision-making-processes.
- BUILDING A MODEL AREA FOR FUTURE PROJECTS: Creation of income opportunities from agroforestry to ecotourism, combining ancient traditions and modern approaches: Showing the world that the forest is worth more standing than cut off.
What can I do?
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News update Amazon landpurchase project
The land purchase project continues to move forward. In November 2022, Rodrigo and Luisa, our Brazilian partners, were on site in Jordão to clarify the final details with Mr Melo, the land owner. Currently, the final version of the purchase agreement is being drafted by our lawyers in Brazil. In the meantime, we have signed the Memorandum of Understanding with Instituto Yuxin, which is now called Insituto Yubekã (which means "transformation" in hatxã kuin). The institute has been our partner institution since the beginning of the land acquisition project. The Memorandum of Understanding regulates what happens to the land after the purchase. The central points are the right of the indigenous Huni Kuin over all decisions concerning the land, as well as the permanent protection of the forest, and the transfer of the entire land (16,800 hectares, or 168 square kilometres, larger than the city district of Mannheim) to a foundation. This is currently in the process of being established. As the conclusion of the purchase contract is imminent, the Instituto Yuxin will be the provisional owner. The contract regulating the conditions for the transfer of the first partial payment to the Instituto Yubekã has already been signed.
The land is located in one of the last areas where uncontacted groups of Indians reside. Securing this area is therefore of great importance. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone again for their patience. Thanks to your support, we were able to overcome many hurdles in the Brazilian bureaucracy and bring the project so far forward. The land purchase enables the Huni Kuin to protect their habitat, their culture and their knowledge. This knowledge is also valuable for us in Europe. We can learn from the Huni Kuin how to live a life in harmony with nature. Last but not least, the Amazon rainforest with its unique biodiversity and its important function for the climate will be protected.
We would be pleased if you would draw attention to the project in your circles of friends and acquaintances. Further information on the project can be found at www.hunikuin.org.
(as of January 2023)
The destruction of the rainforest
The Brazilian government elected in 2018 is actively promoting the exploitation and destruction of the rainforest by enacting new laws and restricting labour and financial resources for the Environmental Agency (IBAMA), the National Foundation for Indigenous Peoples (FUNAI) and the National Institute for Space Research (INPE).
The species-rich habitat of the indigenous people is cleared for illegal logging, mining, quarrying, soya and sugar cane plantations. Since the election of the acting president, deforestation in the Amazon has increased dramatically.
The land rights of the indigenous people, which are documented in the Brazilian constitution, have in fact been abolished. In 2019, tribal areas and national parks were more exposed to invasive destruction than ever before. Most of the cleared land is used for intensive livestock breeding and agriculture. As a result of large-scale deforestation, the climate is warming. Droughts and floods are on the increase.
The thin layer of humus typical of the rainforest quickly erodes and desertification occurs.
Let's safe this precious biotope with its extraordinary, unique flora and fauna together:
For the Huni Kuin, for the animals, for the plants, and on a global scale for us and our future as well.