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Indigenous Ecological Areas are territories led by Indigenous communities as alternatives to state-led and international top-down conservation models.


The Shipibo Conibo Center accompanies the process of Shipibo communities and representative organizations to manage and protect their territories in harmony with their ancestral traditions by amplifying Indigenous-led initiative towards conserving the Amazon's rich environmental heritage and by supporting the establishment of self-declared Indigenous Ecological Areas and their legal framework.


More specifically, we provide resources for the organizing efforts required for the Indigenous-led community-based protection of key Cuencas – or watersheds – as a core component of the Indigenous Ecological Areas.


We identify Cuencas for several reasons: as fish stocks are depleted due to legal commercial as well as illegal overfishing, these watersheds have turned into the current frontier in extractivism; they are sites of incredibly rich biodiversity and  crucial to the hydrological ecology of the Amazon; and they have historically formed the geographical backbones of Shipibo political organization.


It is a well-established fact that titled Indigenous land managed collectively by Indigenous communities continues to have the lowest rate of deforestation and highest rates of biodiversity in the Amazon and across the globe. This has been the basis of most interventions and attempts at territorial and ecological protection. The link between the protection of lakes, lagoons, and watersheds and the protection of a healthy rainforest system as well as of Indigenous-led territorial integrity has rarely been considered. But the health of the water and the health of forests are inextricably linked, and both of these are tied to the wellbeing of local river and forest communities and Indigenous lifeways. It is important to point out that because the defense of water and waterways has become an important concern in Shipibo ecological struggles. Forest and water defense go together.


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