Inside one man’s 30-year quest to save South America’s forests

Give back to the local community

In return for their efforts to restore threatened habitats and save birds and other wildlife, local communities have received help from Acción Andina to secure titles for their land , which provides legal protection against logging, mining and oil companies.

Aucca and his team have also built shelters, brought doctors and dentists to rural villages and provided communities with solar panels and clean clay ovens. to improve their quality of life.

A man is talking to three other people
Large areas of the Andes were once covered in Polylepis trees but only 500,000 ha remain today after decades of deforestation. Photo by UNEP/Diego Rotmistrovsky

Aucca’s vision for ecosystem regeneration goes beyond his native Peru. In 2018, the Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos and the US non-profit Global Forest Generation created Acción Andina to evaluate the model of sustainable forest management in other Andean countries.

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As President and founder of Acción Andina, Aucca currently oversees projects to protect and restore 1 million hectares of prime forests in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador, as well as Peru, in the next 25 years with the support of Global. Forest generation. His work exemplifies the UN Decade of Sustainable Development Agenda’s Call for Global Action to prevent, halt and reverse ecosystem degradation.

That’s good

Studies show that the restoration of 20 million hectares of degraded ecosystems in the Latin American and Caribbean region will provide US $ 23 billion in benefits over 50 years. Sustained ecosystems are also critical to keeping global warming below 2°C and helping communities and economies adapt to climate change.

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At the heart of Aucca’s work is its strong connection to its Inca heritage and the Incan principles of “Ayni and Minka,” a deep commitment to working together for the common good. , which runs through projects to improve the tree in other Andean countries as well.

A man walks along a mountain road
As president of Acción Andina, Aucca currently oversees projects to protect and restore 1 million ha of prime forest. Photo by UNEP / Diego Rotmistrovsky

“Once in South America we were the largest nation, united by one culture, the Inca culture,” said Aucca. “It was the first time we all came together. The next time we come together to create a movement is to free ourselves from the Spanish yoke, to seek freedom. Now we are coming together for the third time. Why? Protect a small tree. “

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About UNEP Champions of the World
The UN Environment Program’s Champions of the Earth honors individuals, groups, and organizations whose actions have impacted the environment. The annual Champions of the Earth award is the UN’s highest environmental honor. It recognizes good leaders from government, civil society, and the private sector

About the UN Decade of Ecosystem Development
The UN General Assembly has declared 2021 to 2030 the UN Year of Ecosystem Restoration. Led by UNEP and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN together with the support of partners, it is designed to prevent, stop, and reverse the loss and destruction of ecosystems worldwide. It aims at reviving billions of hectares, covering terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. A global call to action, the UN Decade combines political support, scientific research, and financial muscle to further growth.



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