Aliados is working with indigenous communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon to restore degraded forests, conserve biodiversity, and improve livelihoods. Kichwa communities in this region traditionally practice smallholder agroforestry, but the area is now under the threat of deforestation from oil and mining, cattle ranching, and mono-crop agriculture. Aliados has worked with the Kichwa people for more than ten years to help build sustainable livelihoods while conserving the forest. In 2018, we established a forest restoration pilot program and have planted thousands of native trees with three communities so far. In line with our mission, we accompany tree planting with training, tools, and networks to link indigenous communities with sustainable agroforestry businesses. By 2025, we aim to partner with 500 farming families to restore 250 hectares of degraded tropical forest with 100,000 trees.
Our restoration approach with this project is to, firstly, increase socio-economic resilience to climate and market variation. Our tree selection considers a variety of native species that have utility for the community and economic value that can support food security and generate revenue. The integration of cyclical crops responds to short term farmer needs. NTFP’s also supports food security as well as diversifying revenues, when accompanied by training and business development support. Secondly, to support ecological resilience, the majority of these trees provide seeds and fruit that attract fauna, birds and insects, responding to less reliable seasonal fruit bearing from a changing climate, and expanding migration corridors.