In 2009 we launched an ambitious project to help save an area of rainforest the size of Yorkshire – that’s 1.5 million hectares of forest.
We’ve been bowled over by the support we’ve received so far and working with the Rainforest Foundation UK we’ve already helped to protect 237,000 hectares of Amazonian rainforest in Peru – an area roughly the same size as the Yorkshire Dales. Recently we were able to visit Peru to see how the project had progressed. Our work has taken place in the Ene River area of Peru’s Amazon rainforest – home to the 10,000-strong Ashaninka community.
The Ashaninka have lived in harmony with their environment for generations, relying on the rainforest for their food, shelter, fuel, livelihoods and medicines. But now, because of illegal loggers and those keen to exploit the forest’s rich resources, that balance is under threat. Since 1990 Peru has lost nearly two million hectares of primary forest.
With our support the Rainforest Foundation helped the community gain the skills and confidence to protect their rights and manage their forest land, and helped families make a living by developing small scale sustainable livelihoods. In this area, cocoa has been one of the keys to forest protection. Cocoa can grow naturally in the forest and, if cared for and harvested properly, can provide an income for families while helping to protect their forest home. With our help the community have set up their own cocoa cooperative, supported by a cocoa management school and training in the field. This has helped family incomes from cocoa growing to increase and is helping the communities to live well in their forest home and protect it for generations to come.