We began our project to produce essential oils specifically to protect primary forest in the Buffer Zone of the Tambopata National Reserve, and so every step of the process is geared towards this objective. Through our productive activities we increase forest resilience, creating agroforestry systems with unique species, that will preserve endangered germplasm in the future, helping to protect the genetic diversity of the Peruvian Amazon.
Specifically, our Essential Oil Production:
1. Benefits local Amazonian ecosystems by:
-Restoring degraded agricultural areas by creating forests for agroforestry systems
-Generating new, native ecosystems in private lands in the Reserve's buffer zone. In this way we renew biological corridors connecting the river with primary forest
-Creating habitat for local flora and fauna
2. Benefits the preservation of specific forest species, which, in the near future could be threatened by deforestation and use as timber. Many of these aromatic species are chosen for the excellent timber, and are looted from Brazil Nut concessions or local farms. We preserve these species by emphasizing the value of their aromatic properties rather than their timber.
3. Benefits Camino Verde as an NGO, allowing the association to provide economic support towards its research; training, and support for local farmers; and its 100 hectare reserve of primary forest.
The initiative partners with farmers from the Tambopata River Basin, specifically the Baltimore, Condenado and Sachavacayoc Regions. Five families, with whom we have developed long-standing, close relationships, are currently involved in the initiative. These families are local farmers, and through their involvement they are able to increase their incomes, and, as a result, improve their qualities of life. By adding sustainable value to the forest, the farmers increase their interest in protecting this unique ecosystem.
The farmers are involved in the process by participating in the planning of the farms, improving their quality and productivity, ultimately providing high quality raw materials.
Farmers also gain an advantage in accessing specialty markets that pay premium prices for processed goods. Camino Verde is able to develop this eco-business, opening new markets and ensuring essential oil sales in the future, while the farmers have been trained and can sustainably run their agroforestry systems, continuing the reforestation effort. In the future, the more committed farmers will have the opportunity to become partners in the business, increasing their incomes even further.
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