Rosewood Reforestation begins at Brillo Nuevo with Camino Verde
In early Feburary, Project staff from CACE and our partner NGO Camino Verde safely escorted 900 rosewood seedlings on a two-day journey by truck, ferry, speed boat, motor-canoe and basket backpacks from a government nursery on the Ucayali River to fields in the Bora native community of Brillo Nuevo on the Ampiyacu River. Five families each planted a share of the seedlings in a secondary forest site near the village. The effort was supervised by Robin van Loon, CACE advisor and executive director of Camino Verde which carries out reforestation and other community forestry projects in the southern Peruvian Amazon. We hope these trees will grow enough in three to four years to sustain a modest harvest of leaves that can be distilled into an aromatic essential oil that can be sold to fragrance companies. See more photos of the journey and community planting.
Craft Sale Social Rebate Funds Community Pharmacy in Bora Native Village
CACE pays artisans up front for their work and sets aside 20% of craft sales from our partner communities to help support their health, education and conservation needs. People from the Bora native village of Brillo Nuevo just finished a community pharmacy with some CACE social rebate funds and will buy more medicines and curved saws to carefully harvest young chambira palm stems in place of machetes. See more pharmacy photos. The campesino community of Chino has used past rebates from CACE basket sales to build desks for its school and basic supplies for students. A Rainforest Conservation Fund representative in Iquitos helped CACE buy a toilet, plumbing and construction supplies for Chino residents to build a new bathroom for its primary school. CACE sales of jewelry and other crafts from Jenaro Herrera has helped this small town buy a printer and basic equipment for its school and medical supplies (small surgical tools, blood pressure cuff, etc.) for its health clinic. Our next goal is to get a delivery bed for its maternity ward. See more social rebate photos.
New CACE partner native communities and new handicrafts
Amazon crafts at stores in Central PA
The Green Drake Gallery and Arts Center on 101 West Main St. in Millheim, PA offers select models of the Amazon guitar strap to visitors taking in its fine art, concerts and classes. These straps were made by Bora native artisans from the village of Brillo Nuevo in the Ampiyacu River region of the northern Peruvian Amazon. See photos of current models of Amazon Guitar Straps available through CACE.
The Quest for Rosewood and new Aromatic Oils
In the summer of 2012 CACE expanded its quest for fragrant essential oils from copal resin to rosewood and other aromatic species. Amazon rosewood was a famous source of high-quality oil (and wood), but relentless exploitation almost wiped it out. Rather than cutting and distilling the whole trunk, we removed up to 5 kgs. of leaves and small branches from several trees around Brillo Nuevo and steamed them in our copper still to measure the yield of its essential oil. These efforts are part of a collaboration with the group Camino Verde that is distilling leaves from other rosewood relatives from its reforestation plots in southern Peru. We are happy our fragrance company partner thought our first rosewood oil sample had a nice aroma. Since this batch came from one lone tree brought to the area over fifty years ago, we have partnered with Camino Verde to establish rosewood trees at Brillo Nuevo to provide a sustainable supply of leaves for a larger venture (see Rosewood Reforestation story above). In the meantime, we hope to learn more about rosewood oil disillation and marketing with a few farmers from the town of Tamshiyacu who have good experience with this species. See related stories: The Legacy of a Rosewood Tree, Steaming Leaves and Heated Emotions, A Dying Copal Tree and Rosewood Seedlings at Jenaro Herrera, and Visions of Rosewood Oil and Ayahuasca.
Dragon's Blood Project with Camino Verde
Thanks to a grant from the Marjorie Grant Whiting Center, CACE and Camino Verde, a conservation NGO based in the Department (state) of Madre de Dios, are collaborating on several projects to develop value-added non-timber forest products in both the northern and southern parts of the Peruvian Amazon. The director of Camino Verde, Robin van Loon, is providing his experience with reforestation and Camino Verde resources to plant rosewood trees with CACE at the Bora native village of Brillo Nuevo. In March, CACE Director Campbell Plowden joined van Loon to consult with shaman Don Ignacio Duri about the medicinal resin called Dragon's Blood ("sangre de grado" in Spanish) at his home in the town of Infierno and then helped van Loon design an experiment to measure the sustainable harvest of this liquid from his Dragon's Blood trees at Camino Verde's field station at Baltimori. They then harvested leaves from a rosewood tree relative called "camphor moena" and ground them up for a small trial distillation in the field station kitchen. See more info and photos.
Amazon Connections Newsletter - Summer 2010
Download the original PDF version
See updated versions with extra photos on the new Center for Amazon Community Ecology Blog
- New markets, opportunities for copal and crafts (updated version): Natalya Stanko and Campbell Plowden present highlights of the Center's research on copal resin and making a fragrant essential oil, developing innovative handicrafts with Bora natives and exploring connections with Maijuna communities in Peru, and Plowden's return visit to Ka'apor and Tembé Indian villages ten years after working with them in Brazil. See updated version with extra photos on the CACE Blog.
Volunteers making a difference
Students from Penn State University are helping the Center with their skills and time with photography, video, graphic design, marketing, writing and research. See Profiles of Current and Past Interns and Key Volunteers.
CACE on FacebookWe have two pages on Facebook to share extra stories and photos. Please "Like" our CACE non-profit organization page or join our CACE group page to share your thoughts about our work and events in the Amazon.
CACE Field Sites in Peru
Reports from the Field
Videos about Copal Project and Amazon Handicrafts
Learn more about the copal project in the videos:Amazon Ecology (Part 1): Use and insect ecology of copal resin in the Peruvian Amazon and Amazon Ecology (Part 2): Sustainable harvest and marketing of copal resin in the Peruvian Amazon.Our newest video Artisans of the Ampiyacutells the story in intimate images and music of the native artisans that CACE works with in the Ampiyacu River basin of the Peruvian Amazon to develop and market innovative handicrafts. Please share the video link with others.
Peruvian Amazon Handicrafts: People, Plants and Community Support features craft makers from two of the Center's partner communities: the town of Jenaro Herrera on the Ucayali River and the Bora native community of Brillo Nuevo in the Ampiyacu River region. It shows ways that people use diverse plants to make their handicrafts and how the Center is supporting local schools by returning part of the proceeds of these crafts sold in the U.S. The piece was shot and produced by cinemaphotographer Greg Harriott when he was an Amazon Field Volunteer with the Center in 2008. Also see Greg's Introduction to Jenaro Herrera and Handicrafts of the Peruvian Amazon by video intern Matt Hunter.
CACE seminar on the web
Also see the CACE cover story of the summer 2011 ICIK E-News for an article by Plowden with the same title.