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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Key Insights

  • 🌳 Deforestation and illegal logging are threatening the biodiversity in the Ikitos region, leading to the decline of giant trees and the destruction of the ecosystem.
  • 🔥 The common practice of burning trees for land clearance releases large amounts of greenhouse gases, contributes to soil erosion, and shortens the nutrient cycle, making the land useless in the long run.
  • 🌱 Only a small percentage of land in the Amazon region is suitable for agriculture, leading farmers to rely on burning biomass to provide carbon for soil fertility, but this practice is gradually destroying their livelihood and the basis of their farming.
  • 🔥 The Chikuni Institute introduces "chakra integral," an organic farming method, to prevent land clearing by burning and promote sustainable farming practices in the region, tapping into ancient indigenous knowledge of permaculture and organic farming.
  • 🌿 Chakra integral focuses on selectively clearing weeds, planting a diverse range of edible plants, medicinal plants, timber, and fruit trees, and composting leaves and branches to retain soil moisture and maintain the ecosystem's health.
  • 🌳 Setting up a successful chakra integral requires extensive knowledge of rainforest plants, their light and shade requirements, life cycles, and soil preferences, and training is being provided to local workers and farmers to ensure knowledge transfer.
  • 🌾 Chakra integral outperforms burned fields in terms of longevity, productivity, and environmental sustainability, providing a win-win situation for farmers and the environment.
  • ✨ Ancient agricultural expertise is being harnessed to restore the power of the jungle, with the hope of preserving biodiversity, promoting sustainable farming practices, and improving livelihoods in the Ikitos region.


the jungle around ikitos is home to more species than almost anywhere else on earth it's a kind of paradise but it's under threat just 15 years ago giant trees grew near the city now they're floated down the river from further away because there are none left here deforestation is on the rise logging yields valuable timber in which there's a large ... Read More

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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