Reynaldo and The Amazon Conservation Project, Peru

Reynaldo and The Amazon Conservation Project, Peru

Posted by James Whiteman on 8th Apr 2014

This week's blog comes from our new partners in the Peruvian Amazon, the CREES foundation.

The beautiful short film is about Reynaldo Ochoa who is an inspiration to the people of Manu in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest. For the past 20 years he has dedicated his life to finding new ways of living in balance with his environment. By encouraging farmers to plant trees with their crops and enabling families to grow fresh organic produce he is helping to forge a sustainable future for the region, both protecting the environment and allowing local people to flourish.

It hasn't always been this way. When Reynaldo moved to the rainforest over 30 years ago he cleared the forest just like everyone else. When the soil could no longer produce crops he moved to new land and started again. After years of working like this he realized that if people continued in this manner there would soon be no forest left. And so he began learning about sustainable farming and started to experiment with his own land. He tried lots of different methods and eventually found a system that works.. Now he uses the waste from his chickens to feed pond algae which, in turn, feeds the fish.. The waste from his sheep he uses to fertilize the land for crops and he plants nitrogen fixing trees and vines to regenerate the soil. The system is akin to permaculture and works much as nature would without the introduction of a monoculture.

Reynaldo helps farmers all across the region to plant trees with their crops as part of CREES agroforestry project. These trees enable the forest to regrow and also replenish the soil with nutrients, thus reducing the need to clear new land for farming. The trees absorb CO2 from the air and can be used for carbon offsetting. Each tree is protected for between 15 and 40 years after which they can be used as a source of sustainable timber.

Reynaldo helps share his knowledge not just by working with commercial farmers but also by helping local people start gardens of their own where they can grow crops in an organic way. The aim is to help improve people's nutrition and provide an income through the sale of any excess produce.

Since he began, Reynaldo has started over 350 gardens and planted over 30,000 trees. He does not drive a car and uses bio gas in his home (produced from his own families waste!). As a pioneer in organic farming he lives a truly sustainable existence.

Though he has been working in sustainable agriculture for more than 20 years, Reynaldo currently works with the CREES foundation to help forge a sustainable future for the Manu region of Peru, in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.

For more information on our Amazon Conservation Project and a chance to join Reynaldo, click here.


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