What is the value of using ancestral farming methods in the Ecuadorian Amazon?

Everyone knows that one of the major problems the vulnerable Amazon area is facing is extensive deforestation, which is mainly caused by displacement of the agricultural frontier.

Ecuador is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, hosting around 10% of the world’s plant species and is also considered to have a great potential to provide the ecosystem services needed to sustain local livelihoods, such as forests.

For centuries native indigenous Kichwa, used the Chakra system in the Ecuadorian Amazon, which is a traditional agroforestry practice, cultivating small spots of land within the rainforest. This forms a landscape that resembles to a mosaic, which is economically productive and ecologically friendly to the biodiversity of the area.

The advantage of an agroforestry system as a mechanism for climate change mitigation is that, compared with other terrestrial options, agroforestry has other environmental benefits such as restoring and maintaining biodiversity, corridors between protected forests, and reduction of pressure on natural forests and maintaining watershed hydrology. These ecological foundations of agroforestry systems have been associated with a potential for the provision of ecosystem services worldwide and contribution to food security and poverty alleviation in developing countries

This highlights that the chakra system, associated with a cash crop such as cacao, can be an option for carbon sequestration and climate change mitigation; it also contributes to food security. Chakras with cacao also can be integrated into wildlife corridors, connecting patches of primary or secondary forests while generating household income.

The findings can guide policy makers and other stakeholders in their decisions on land-use policy and measures to tackle poverty and climate change

Supporting articles:

Contribution of Traditional Agroforestry to Climate ChangeAdaptation in the Ecuadorian Amazon: The Chakra System - Bolier Torres, Oswaldo Jadán Maza, Patricia Aguirre, Leonith Hinojosae and Sven Gunter

Co-Evolution and Bio-Social Construction : The Kichwa Agroforestry Systems (Chakras) in the Ecuadorian Amazonia - Daniel Coq-Huelva, Angie Higuchi, Rafaela Alfalla-Luque, Ricardo Burgos-Morán and Ruth Arias-Gutiérrez


What is the value of using ancestral farming methods in the Ecuadorian Amazon?