When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

How GPS And Indigenous Eyes Are Mapping The Amazon Ecosystem

The end of a hike to La Chorrera Waterfall
The end of a hike to La Chorrera Waterfall
Viviana Londoño

BOGOTA — "Our grandparents knew our territory well, its sacred and productive places, but also the risks we assumed if we did not use resources appropriately...."

These are the words of José Zafiama, a teacher of the Uitoto indigenous people and member of the Azicatch Indigenous organization, which brings together peoples in the Predio Putumayo Indigenous Reserve, the largest in the Colombian Amazon. "Part of their ancestral wisdom remained with them and was either not documented or was difficult to translate into a language that would allow us to defend our territory and make decisions," Zafiama continued. "Today we have found out how to access that information."

The teacher and activist has recently revealed results for the first ecosystem services analysis in his territory, which can become a key tool for the sustainable development of other indigenous peoples in the Amazon. How did they carry out this analysis and create a technical guide to serve similar processes? Reaching La Chorrera is not easy. A flight runs only every two weeks and seldom follows a set itinerary, while the alternative boat trip can take more than 15 days from the nearest city. Nevertheless, a team led by WWF and Fundación Puerto Rastrojo traveled regularly to the region for almost an entire year to train an indigenous technical team that could advance this initiative.

The objective was to create a pilot project for the evaluation of ecosystem services from an indigenous viewpoint, to both analyze the risks of deforestation and the loss of ecosystem services, as well as strengthen indigenous communities' governance. The result is a complete guide showcasing the methods used and the results obtained during its application in La Chorrera.

Chela Umire, one of the women from the Muinane people who participated in the process, said she was sceptical at first: "We never thought we could learn something like this. At first everything seemed complicated, but we eventually learned how to use a GPS, to understand maps and find specific places, and to comprehend the size of our territory."

Young and elderly women and men representing four indigenous peoples formed part of the team, contributing knowledge of the territory and ecosystem.

This process allowed us to become close to our grandparents again.

"This process allowed us to become close to our grandparents again, while preserving traditional wisdom and complementing it with Western elements," says José Miller Teteye, another member of the team from the Bora people. "We know our territory, but we knew very little about it technically and got to learn about it."

This pilot project is one of the achievements of the REDD+ Indígena Amazónico initiative, RIA, which seeks to promote the integration of an indigenous viewpoint in conservation policies and REDD+ programs implemented in Amazonian countries like Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador. Amazonian Indigenous peoples' vision of their territories is vital to facing the current climate challenge and supporting governments in the implementation international commitments like the Paris Agreement.

More than half of Colombia's Amazonian forests are inhabited by indigenous communities, but until now it had been difficult for them to both identify and characterize the ecosystem services that make up the enormous value of their forests and to participate in processes to protect these services and make them visible. The Chorrera pilot project opens a door to show that the forests they inhabit serve purposes that go way beyond carbon storage.

La Chorrera is also the setting of one of the most painful pages in Colombia's indigenous history. During the early twentieth century it was one of the epicenters of the rubber boom that resulted in the genocide of more than 30,000 Indigenous People, recalls Tirso Candre, leader of the Ocaina indigenous people,

"Indigenous peoples have conserved forests because forests are like our mother," Candre says. "It is very important for us to keep taking care of productive spaces and sacred places, and this project is a tool to protect our territory, to make decisions. We want to keep conserving the forest, and now we have more information to do so."

And their voices have traveled far. Representatives of the indigenous technical team have shared the pilot project's results not only with neighboring communities, but also in international settings like the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


The Unsustainable Future Of Fish Farming — On Vivid Display In Turkish Waters

Currently, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming, compared to just 10% two decades ago. The short-sightedness of this shift risks eliminating fishing output from both the farms and the open seas along Turkey's 5,200 miles of coastline.

Photograph of two fishermen throwing a net into the Tigris river in Turkey.

Traditional fishermen on the Tigris river, Turkey.

Dûrzan Cîrano/Wikimeidia
İrfan Donat

ISTANBUL — Turkey's annual fish production includes 515,000 tons from cultivation and 335,000 tons came from fishing in open waters. In other words, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming.

It's a radical shift from just 20 years ago when some 600,000 tons, or 90% of the total output, came from fishing. Now, researchers are warning the current system dominated by fish farming is ultimately unsustainable in the country with 8,333 kilometers (5,177 miles) long.

Professor Mustafa Sarı from the Maritime Studies Faculty of Bandırma 17 Eylül University believes urgent action is needed: “Why were we getting 600,000 tons of fish from the seas in the 2000’s and only 300,000 now? Where did the other 300,000 tons of fish go?”

Professor Sarı is challenging the argument from certain sectors of the industry that cultivation is the more sustainable approach. “Now we are feeding the fish that we cultivate at the farms with the fish that we catch from nature," he explained. "The fish types that we cultivate at the farms are sea bass, sea bram, trout and salmon, which are fed with artificial feed produced at fish-feed factories. All of these fish-feeds must have a significant amount of fish flour and fish oil in them.”

That fish flour and fish oil inevitably must come from the sea. "We have to get them from natural sources. We need to catch 5.7 kilogram of fish from the seas in order to cultivate a sea bream of 1 kg," Sarı said. "Therefore, we are feeding the fish to the fish. We cannot cultivate fish at the farms if the fish in nature becomes extinct. The natural fish need to be protected. The consequences would be severe if the current policy is continued.”

Keep reading...Show less

The latest