First of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Jane Shirley Mori Cairuna and I am a member of the Shipibo-Conibo people. I was born in the Santa Rosa de Aguaytia community and I grew up in Yarinacocha, Pucallpa where I carried out my secondary studies and finished my studies at the National Intercultural University of the Amazon with a degree in Agroforestry. I’ve been working with Alianza Arkana for two months now, carrying out work that seeks to empower Shipibo women across the different communities in the region. In addition, I work on eco-social justice matters concerning conflicts that have been cropping up in Shipibo-Konibo communities. I’m passionate about defending both our territory and our rights.
On the 3rd December, the Alianza Arkana team visited the Callería Native Community with the aim of achieving a better understanding of communal forest management. We are interested in the good results that the community have achieved there of late, with the technical assistance of the Peruvian NGO, AIDER. The community has opted for a system of communal and sustainable forest management, achieving positive social and economic changes and satisfying the basic needs of families within the community.
The Callería community is in the Callería district, situated in the province of Coronel Portillo, in the Department of Ucayali. It has just under 300 inhabitants.
Before visiting the community, from what we heard about the work that they were doing there, it seemed that the community was an example to follow in terms of good forest management, a model to be rolled out to other communities. Such is the progress being made that the community has achieved a voluntary forestry certificate, for the purpose of timber production as well as industrial/commercial purposes.
On arriving at the community, we had a brief meeting with all of the community members present. Professor Eli Sanchez, Intercultural Education adviser for Alianza Arkana and who is herself from Callería, explained to the community members the reasons for our visit. After that, everyone from Alianza Arkana introduced themselves.
Senor Alfredo, forest technician and President of the community’s forest management committee took us on a brief trip around the area where the community is working. What he said to us about the forest was really interesting; obviously he has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to sustainable forest management.
Various key points arose from our conversations with him
- Mr Alfredo told us that this year they hadn’t extracted wood because they didn’t have the necessary forestry regent. The forestry regent is a new type of licence set out in the new Forest and Wild Fauna Law no. 29763 and its concomitant regulations. What this means then is that professionals with training and experience in drawing up forest management plans (management plans and operating plans) and granted a 5-year licence under forestry law have their activity brought to a halt due to their not having the forestry regent. It was incredible to learn just what an impact this bureaucratic delay can have on the livelihood of the families.
- A very important part of the philosophy regarding community forest management is that community members can receive financial support for the work they carry out in the forest. One father told me that he has 2 children who study at university and could finance their own university costs with their work in the forest: funding their own transport, books, rent, amongst other things. In addition, community members could construct their houses using good-quality wood such as la Quinilla (Manilkara sp); Capirona (Calycophyllum sp); Catahua (Hura crepitans).
- The important thing is that in Callería, as opposed to many other communities who have granted a concession to their ancestral land to foreign logging companies resulting in many problems, they have been able to produce the timber themselves and as such, have been able to change their quality of life.
I’m really positive about the work being carried out in the community. This is an initiative that Alianza Arkana will be able to help promote as a good example showing other communities how to manage and make full use of their forest resources in a sustainable way. Given that one of the most significant problems to affect the forests in the Ucayali region currently is the large-scale selective and indiscriminate logging of commercial species, this community offers us a good alternative path.
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