Andes Amazon Fund is thrilled to announce the creation of the Tarímiat Pujutaí Nuṉka Reserve, which spans 3,057,671 acres (1,237,395 hectares) of Andean and Amazonian forests in eastern Ecuador. Located in the Morona Santiago province, this new reserve primarily encompasses the territories of the Shuar and Achuar Indigenous communities who have guarded these forests for thousands of years.
Increasing environmental threats in the region drove the Shuar and Achuar communities to seek protection for their lands, leading to years of work in collaboration with Nature and Culture International. On February 1st, 2023, they achieved their goal with the official establishment of Tarímiat Pujutaí Nuṉka (meaning Territory for Well-Being in the Shuar language), Ecuador’s newest provincial reserve, which is now one of the largest reserves in the Amazon region.
Conserving Biodiversity and Halting Deforestation
The creation of the Tarímiat Pujutaí Nuṉka Reserve will protect the diverse ecosystems of Morona Santiago: páramos, cloud forests, Andean-Amazon foothills, sub-Andean mountain ranges with sandstone plateaus, Amazonian lowlands, and floodplain forests. The region has 1,029 species of birds registered, with 7 endemic to Ecuador and 40 to the Amazon region. The sub-Andean mountain ranges of the province are home to large mammals such as the Jaguar, Tapir, and Spectacled Bear, and are among the areas with the highest plant endemism in the country. The newly established reserve also connects a critical biodiversity corridor throughout eastern Ecuador and Northern Peru.
The Morona Santiago province has faced the highest deforestation rate in Ecuador, losing over 22,000 acres (the size of nearly 17,000 football fields) of forest cover each year. Mining, livestock expansion, and timber extraction threaten the forests, rivers, and people living in the province.
“Together, we can Succeed.”
The area’s establishment is of great significance to the nearly 200,000 inhabitants of Morona Santiago, most of whom belong to the Shuar and Achuar Indigenous communities. Its creation recognizes the territorial rights of the Shuar and Achuar peoples and allows them to protect and manage the area according to their collective traditions. They hope Tarímiat Pujutaí Nuṉka will aid in preserving the area’s cultural practices for present and future generations. The Tarímiat Pujutaí Nuṉka Reserve will also promote sustainable development and subsistence for the two nationalities. Ecotourism ventures to explore the region’s rivers, waterfalls, and caves will help local communities advance economically and will help finance the protection of the area.
“Together as Shuar, Achuar, and mestizos, let us conserve our life, expressed in the rainforest, rivers, and the weather, with the science and action on which we all depend. For the future of our forests, rivers, animals, and the well-being of our people and nationalities. Together we can succeed.”Rafael Antuni, Provincial Prefect of Morona Santiago.
This victory was achieved thanks to the efforts and leadership of the Shuar and Achuar communities and the Provincial Government of Morona Santiago, with the technical assistance of Nature and Culture International Ecuador. Andes Amazon Fund’s financial support for this project was generously provided by the Wyss Foundation and by Art into Acres via Re:wild.