We imagine the Amazon rainforest as a lush, humid biome with almost constant rainfall within its dense green canopy. Yet human-caused climate change has resulted in prolonged drought in many parts of the Amazon and led to 2023 becoming a record year for forest fires.
In September last year, our partners at Yorenka Tasorentsi, who, along with Aquaverde, we are partnering to plant a flourishing native forest garden of 10 million fruit trees, shared their devastation and fear as vast fires swept towards their home. While thankfully no people were harmed, they impacted wildlife, the forest and the tree nursery, damaging much of the forest they have been working hard to restore over the last five years. When we spoke with Benki Piyãko, President of Yorenka Tasorentsi and a leader of the Ashaninka people, he shared his despair at how fires for land clearing have become more prevalent and can quickly get out of control.
We asked Benki and the Yorenka team what we could do to help. We’d heard (and seen) the community risking their lives by running into the forest with buckets of water to quench the flames when the local fire agencies were unavailable.
"Initially, we were using a low-cost drone to survey, then hacking a path with machetes into the forest, and carry buckets one by one, often up to 1/2 km into the forest. We got water in a large tub used to collect rainwater on the bed of a barely driveable pickup truck. It was laborious, inefficient and difficult, and yet with 50 of us all working together like ants, we made progress." Benki Piyãko, President, Yorenka Tasorentsi
Through working with another of the Ashaninka partners, the Boa Foundation, we helped raise funds to purchase life and forest-saving fire-fighting equipment. Because of your donations, we have been able to help buy hoses, pumps, and a fire truck - providing the community with the necessary equipment to extinguish fires quickly and safely. As well as undertake preventative measures if droughts continue.
“With this equipment and a new strategy, we will optimize the manpower and also be able to provide support to neighbors who have no equipment or knowledge in how to combat these fires.” Benki Piyãko, President, Yorenka Tasorentsi
The Yorenka Tasorentsi Institute and the Ashaninka people have asked us to express their immense gratitude for your support!
To learn more about this project, please visit our project page below. If you would like to support this work, please consider becoming a TreeSisters monthly. Thank you.