Kawsaypacha journal Photo gallery Video gallery

Cultural significance, conservation and management of wetlands in Chambira basin

About the project

Amazonian wetlands play a key role for environmental quality conservation, mantaining biodiversity, absorbing CO2, purifying water, and protecting soils. In addition, these ecosystems have great social, cultural and economic value for rural communities. The Chambira river basin belongs to the “Fan de Pastaza”, a wetland system of 3.8 million that has been included in The List of Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar list).

This area stores 3 billion tons of carbon, which reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, thus diminishing the effects of climate change. This area also constitutes an important part of the Urarina people territory, composed by 4,000 to 6,000 persons, whose livehood depends on the ecosystem services provided by the existing wetland system.

However, despite their importance, wetlands have been deteriorating progressively, due to drying processes, contamination, introduction of invasive species, unsustainable use and land use conversion. In addition, they are not properly managed, since they are not part of an Official Protected Natural Area, recognized by the Peruvian State.

This project establishes a necessary foundation to understand how the communities of the Chambira River basin interact with socially and economically important resourses, and the ecological effects of human resource use in this highly biodiverse but critically endangered region.



To identify how the indigenous and riverside communities of the Chambira river basin access to local socio-ecological resources, and the ecological impacts determined by the use of resources in this highly biodiverse region.

Specific aims

  • To carry out ethnobotanical documentation in the area: document the names, scientific identity, uses, cultural significance and socioeconomic value of the plants and their trade in the Urarina communities, within the Chambira river basin.
  • To promote traditional ecological knowledge and anthropological research, through a multi and interdisciplinary approach, investigate the interactions between human communities and the Amazon biome in the Chambira region.


Institutions involved