top of page

The Wawazonia Project


The indigenous Shuar people of the Ecuadorian Amazon hold title to some of the earth’s most biodiverse rainforests. Immense tracts of their traditional lands are still pristine rainforests where wildlife such as jaguars and pumas still roam the forest.


The COVID-19 pandemic in Ecuador and the Amazon has struck the Indigenous people hard. In addition to the health consequences, the fragile markets of the Indigenous peoples have collapsed due to the pandemic. Due to the pandemic, the ecotourism industry, which played a central role in many Amazonian villages, has collapsed, and the sales of traditional goods have been severely limited.


The limited economic opportunities put the Indigenous peoples desperate to raise funds for health, education, and essential food items. In the Ecuadorian Amazon, this has left the Shuar with little to no economic activities, and there is an imminent danger that illegal logging or hunting could become the only means of making a living.



Project Wawazonia aims to generate income among the villagers of the Shuar communities through investment in the sustainable production of native tree species such as balsa (called Wawa in Shuar) and other local timber species. In addition, establishing and managing these new buffer plantations and balsa forests will provide employment and enable the Shuar to say no to pressure from illegal loggers.


Furthermore, by producing the balsa and tropical timbers in plantations on previous farmland, the demand for wood is concentrated on a lesser area than current practices, creating a buffer for the undisturbed primary forest, thus eliminating the need for cutting balsa and other timbers in the primary forest.


The project will also establish a Shuar-led Climate Fund that will invest in sustainable economic activities in the villages, such as tourism, craft production, fish farming, and the like.


  • To establish 200 hectares (225.000 trees) of sustainable plantation in three indigenous Shuar communities.

  • To protect 1000 hectares (10.000.000 sq. m) of primary rainforest in the Shuar communities.

  • Create jobs related to the production and management of plantations and conservation areas. Market and sell sustainable balsa and timber from the plantations no later than five years after the establishment, combined with skills and general education about sustainable forest management.

  • Carbon capture through plantation establishment and standing biomass in the primary rainforest. One hectare of forest plantation in the area captures 30 tons of carbon per hectare per year, which donating companies can purchase.

  • Establish a Shuar-led climate fund. The fund will receive DKK 1 per tree planted and 5 percent of the profit from the sale of balsa wood. The fund will support sustainable development in the communities, such as ecotourism, women's group activities, craft production, the development and sale of traditional medicine, and much more.


Shuar child with balsa plants

Nunkui Vargas on the way ot planting balsa trees

Shuar women in balsa forest

Balsa trees two years ole at Musap Community

Shuar at waterfall

Coordinator Rodrigo Wampanti at the tapir waterfall


Puma on trail camera at Arutam community

bottom of page