Frequently asked questions :
- How does conservation of these forests concern us?
Located on the equatorial belt, the Amazon stabilizes the global climate
, the major heat currents and the humidity rate. The new wave of cyclones and storms, the variation in rainfall throughout the world are direct consequences of the deforestation in Amazon.
Furthermore, the forest is a very important store of carbon. When it disappears to become a soya field, a palm oil or pulp plantation, the sequestered carbon is released in the atmosphere.
All the greenhouse gases due to deforestation represent 20% of the global emissions, which is more than transport worldwide.The disappearance of these forests plays an important role in the increase of the average temperature of the planet.
Lastly, these forests represent a biological and cultural asset which is an invaluable source for scientific discoveries for the future generations.
- What is the difference between land restitution and repurchase?
The restitution of territories occupied for thousands of years by native people is based on legal steps
aiming to ensure that the constitution of the concerned countries is complied with. It is possible only in certain countries and it always costs less than repurchase to individuals, plot by plot.
In the case of restitution, the native organization receives a community property title, by definition indivisible, which guarantees its conservation, since no family or village can sell any part of it. In the case of plot repurchase, further legal steps are necessary to reunite the territories. This has an additional cost.
- Why don’t you post a value per hectare?
Each territory is different. In the case of Shiwiar, the restitution cost 75,000 $, which is less than 0.40 €/hectare. For the Zapara, we also provided 75,000 $, but for a much smaller area, which amounts to about 0.70 €/hectare. For the Arhuaco in Sierra de Santa Marta, the repurchase of lands came out to be much more expensive: it varied between 200 and 1000 € per hectare, depending on the location of the lands and their accessibility.
A point to be noted is that the biodiversity of these territories enables one to more or less assess their annual theoretical value (those of the products they contain and that are replenished each year): it would be roughly 4000 € per year per hectare in the Amazon region…
- What part of the donations really goes to the Indians?
Zero Deforestation has undertaken to use 100 %
of your donations
in the operations of restitution, repurchase or conservation of the concerned territories, excluding bank transaction fees. However, you should note that sometimes the money is not directly paid to the Indian organizations, but to lawyers, government institutions or NGOs in charge of these procedures.
- How do you make sure that the forest is and will be conserved?
The populations we help have undertaken not to exploit the restituted primary forests for ten years after restitution (no clearing of the grounds except for creating small traditional agricultural gardens).
Moreover, beyond the restitution, Zero Deforestation will support the native organizations in the conservation and sustainable management of their forests, especially through sustainable development projects (extra-activism, ecotourism) and the promotion of their active role in offsetting CO2 emissions.
- Wouldn’t it be better to promote the creation of nature reserves?
Some scientists tend to oppose nature conservation and human development. For them, the best solution is to create natural reserves in which the presence of human beings is prohibited or heavily regulated.
In Latin America, many natural reserves were created by the State between the 70s and 90s. However, they are not protected from wild or illegal exploitation as is the case in Ecuador* or in Brazil. The Indians, who are heirs to an ancient culture closely related to life in the forest, are the primary caretakers. They even sometimes stand up against environmental NGOs
that want to manage their forests in their place….
* Ecuador has the shocking distinction of allowing oil production in its national parks, Yasuni Park for example.
- Are the native people capable of conserving the forest?
The American Indians are special in that they have never cut their links with the natural environment in which they live. It is in their culture, in their way of life, in their cosmogony.
Zero-Deforestation gives the resources to native people who have clearly expressed their desire to protect the forest, to continue to manage their territories collectively and completely independently, in order to be able to participate fully in what is called avoided deforestation.
- Shouldn’t we rather replant new forests?
Replanting cannot reconstitute the vast biodiversity of ancient forests. It may even appear to be a disguised economic operation (palm oil, eucalyptus plantation).
It takes 600 years to constitute a full primary forest, according to Francis Hallé, a renowned French botanist. Each hectare of primary forest in the Amazon region holds 650 tons of carbon, which is 50% more than a plantation or the ancient deciduous forests. For instance, the Shiwiar territory which was recently restituted holds 82 MT of Carbon, which is the equivalent of 4 years of CO2 emissions of the entire Paris region including its suburbs*!
* an area barely larger than that of the restituted Shiwiar territory
- Wouldn’t repurchasing lands or plots not claimed by the native people also be a solution?
It is worth recalling that the entire Amazon region belonged to the natives. That said, it is true that vast areas or forests are today on sale without anyone claiming them, quite simply because they have disappeared or migrated. Purchasing these lands requires a strong local infrastructure to subsequently manage them and to enforce their territorial integrity. Their acquisition and management costs work out to be more expensive than involving the indigenous people in these perations (250 €/hectare, according to CoolEarth, 2008).
- Will these lands be protected from oil production?
It is true that the subsoil belongs to the State. But to produce oil, you have to pump the oil to the surface. This requires the State and the oil companies to negotiate the production rights with the native organizations. The latter are now sufficiently well-organized and supported to defend themselves efficiently: some of them do allow production on their lands, on the sole condition of strictly respecting nature (no roads, for example).
- How can I go and see these lands?
Zero Deforestation has signed a partnership with the Peruvian NGO Latitud Sur
in order to develop ecotourism in the restituted territories. The Indians whom we support are open to this type of tourism which represents for them a source of income, without the need to exploit the forest or to go to the cities to work there.
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