Peru: Sustainable farming in the rainforest | Global Ideas | Summary and Q&A

July 1, 2019
DW News
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Peru: Sustainable farming in the rainforest | Global Ideas


Deforestation and burning practices in the Amazon region are threatening the biodiversity and soil health, but a permaculture organization is introducing sustainable farming methods to prevent further damage.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How does deforestation and burning practices affect the Amazon ecosystem?

Deforestation and burning practices in the Amazon region have severe consequences for the ecosystem. The loss of trees leads to reduced biodiversity and habitat destruction for various species. Burning practices release large amounts of greenhouse gases, contributing to climate change. Soil erosion occurs due to the removal of trees, and the nutrient cycle is disrupted, impacting macro and microfauna. The combination of deforestation and burning practices renders the land barren and useless over time.

Q: Why do smallholder farmers resort to burning practices?

Smallholder farmers in the Amazon rely on burning practices as part of their traditional farming methods. They clear the land by hand, tree by tree, and burn them to provide carbon to the soil for crop growth. While burning is detrimental to the environment, farmers consider it a necessary step for their farming practices. The lack of suitable agricultural land and the need for carbon-rich soil contribute to the continuation of these practices.

Q: How does the Chikuni Institute address the issue of deforestation and burning practices?

The Chikuni Institute aims to tackle deforestation and burning practices by implementing the Chakra Integral program. This permaculture method focuses on sustainable farming practices, avoiding burning, and promoting organic farming techniques. The program involves selectively clearing land, planting a diverse range of plant species, and reactivating pre-Columbian agricultural knowledge passed down through indigenous communities. By providing training to workers and farmers, the Chikuni Institute hopes to sustainably farm the jungle and improve yields without relying on destructive practices.

Q: What are the benefits of adopting sustainable farming methods instead of burning practices?

Adopting sustainable farming methods, such as those introduced by the Chikuni Institute, brings several benefits. Firstly, it helps preserve the biodiversity and health of the Amazon jungle. Secondly, sustainable farming practices ensure a longer-lasting and more productive harvest compared to burned fields. Additionally, these methods are better for the environment, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating soil erosion. By implementing sustainable farming methods, farmers can achieve a win-win situation by improving their crop yields and protecting the ecosystem.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Deforestation and logging activities are leading to the depletion of trees in the Amazon region, causing environmental and soil degradation.

  • Burning practices by smallholder farmers further contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, erosion, and soil infertility.

  • To address this issue, the Chikuni Institute is implementing a permaculture pilot project called Chakra Integral, focusing on sustainable farming practices and reactivating ancient agricultural knowledge to protect the jungle and improve crop yields.

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