December News: Saweto at Climate Conference, Plotkin TED talk, Alto Purús Resource Use Studies

December 2014

COP foto

Leaders from the Asheninka communities of Saweto, Peru and Apiwxta, Brazil hold a press conference during the UN climate change conference in Lima demanding justice for the murder of four Asheninka leaders by illegal loggers in September. Julia Pérez and Ergilia Rengifo are the widows of Jorge Rios Pérez and Edwin Chota, and Diana Rios is the son of Pérez. The women are supported by Isaac Pikayo and Francisco Piyako, leaders from the neighboring Brazilian community of Apiwtxa (Photo: Martin Mejia, AP)

For links to articles related to Saweto and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change currently taking place in Lima, click here.

“The greatest and most endangered species in the Amazon rainforest is not the jaguar or the harpy eagle,” says Mark Plotkin, “It’s the isolated and uncontacted tribes.” In an energetic and sobering talk, the ethnobotanist brings us into the world of the forest’s indigenous tribes and the incredible medicinal plants that their shamans use to heal. He outlines the challenges and perils that are endangering them — and their wisdom — and urges us to protect this irreplaceable repository of knowledge.

Click here for full screen version of Plotkin’s 16 minute talk. 

University of Texas PhD student and former Upper Amazon Conservancy researcher, Aaron Groth, successfully defended his Masters Thesis on the impacts on Mahogany logging on Alto Purús indigenous communities.  “Social and Environmental Impacts of Big-Leaf Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) on Peruvian indigenous communities.”

Previous to his Master’s research in 2010, Groth spent several months in the Alto Purús collecting data on how local communities use their forest resources.  The three-year study included four communities of three ethnicities: Monterrey (of the Yine ethnicity) and Laureano (of the Amahuaca ethnicity) on the Purús River, and the Juni Kuin (Cashinahua) communities of Balta and Santa Rey on the Curanja River.  The studies were led by Upper Amazon Conservancy and ProPurús with active participation from communities members.

A draft of the study is available here: Evaluación del Uso de los Recursos Naturales en Cuatro Comunidades Nativas de la Provincia de Purús, Ucayali, 2009 – 2011.


Amahuaca villagers on the Alto Purús River with eggs from the Yellow-Spotted Side-neck Turtle (Podocnemis unifilis) (A. Groth).

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