MATSES IN PERU'S AMAZON WRITE ENCYCLOPEDIA TO SAVE PLANT KNOWLEDGE

A recent article of mine in The Guardian details how the indigenous Matsés people in Peru’s Amazon have written a 1,044-page two-volume encyclopedia of their traditional plant knowledge and have planted seven “healing forests”, or “medicinal agroforestry” plots, across their territory. Both initiatives are intended to help safeguard the extraordinary plant knowledge of their traditional healers, known as “maestros”, all of whom are estimated to be over 60 years old. Both "healing forests" and encyclopedia are the result of the Matsés partnering with Peru- and US-based NGO Acaté Amazon Conservation, founded by two Americans, Bill Park and Christopher Herndon. As the article explains, other Matsés-Acaté projects include mapping the estimated 1.2 million hectares of Matsés territory in Peru, sustainable commerce, sustainable agriculture, and most recently a pilot herpetological inventory. To date, approximately 200 Matsés men and women have worked on a temporary basis with Acaté. Matses territory extends across the border into Brazil. (28-11-2017)

David Hill