Bena Nii

What We Did

New Forest Permaculture is a landscape regeneration initiative run by community members that creates livelihood opportunities, working cooperatively on the basis of communal work and equal participation. Together we:

  • create and manage permaculture demonstration sites, seed banks, and family demonstration sites that are used for food and agricultural education in communities
  • grow plant and tree species in our nurseries, vital resources for reforestation, crop cultivation, and biodiversity
  • build firebreaks and swales as part of our management strategies

Participants transfer the techniques and principles of permaculture to their family agricultural plots, needing us less and less every day. By facilitating experimentation as well as the exchange of eco-agricultural knowledge, we are rediscovering permaculture as both an old and new science, and realising that although the name is new,the Shipibo have always been permaculturalists.

Why is a Permaculture program important?

Over the last half-century, ranching, logging and slash-and-burn agriculture have depleted soil quality and turned primary rainforest into invasive grassland primarily in areas surrounding cities and roads. Government-supported and private agro-industry programs have aggravated these problems by promoting monocultural land use strategies focusing on cash crops, ignoring subsistence and environmental impact.

The majority of Shipibo communities we work with don't live as sustainably as before, and are increasingly purchasing unhealthy foods rather than locally-grown ones, as well as leaving their land and families for economic reasons. Working with people in these communities who envision alternative ways to feed their families and manage and reforest their lands helps keep both communities and traditions thriving, showing others in the community that the old ways are newly possible.