The Amazon Charitable Trust traces its origin back to the forties. When one visionary meets another ideas fly; seeds are sown. Ernest Kleinwort, of the banking family, dined with Peter Scott of Slimbridge and his commitment to the natural world made him the first treasurer of the WWT, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. The foretell of the World Wild Fund for nature are set and some 20 years later Peter, serve as a member of the board of trustees of the British National Appeal development, later to become WWF - UK.
Some 40 years later the Ernest Kleinwort Charitable Trust granted £75,000 to the small village of Xixuaú for the acquisition of 16 solar panels and a satellite dish and there starts an extraordinary story.
The Amazon Charitable Trust, a one project charity, exists solely to support the riberinho (riverbank) communities at their behest. The scope of the project is therefore to provide a long-term solution to retain the riberinhos in the forest.
The Xixuaú-Xiparina region is under the management and protection of a Co-operative (CoopXixuaú). This was formed by the local inhabitants of the region in February 2010, in response to the need for a legally established social enterprise focused on continued conservation of the area and sustainable living for the local inhabitants. The local people have rights to the land and jointly share the proceeds from economic activity. This means that they all benefit from protection of the forest and defend it together - key to their families’ local culture, education, economic and physical health. The CoopXixuaú is based in the community of Xixuaú, but is working to involve the neighbouring communities along the Rio Jauaperi.
In partnership with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and the National Institute of Amazon Research (INPA), the local community with the support from ACT has successfully created and undertaken an Anglo-Brazilian project, the Botânica Comunitária. This project mapped the flora in this remote area whilst providing training to the local ribeirinho (riverbank) communities, to produce the first botanical inventory across the region. This project has provided training for the local community in the form of natural resource management skills such as management of forest resources and income generation from forest products, which has enabled those participating to make real improvements to their quality of life whilst conserving the primary forest that surrounds them for future generations.
On the 5th of June, as we celebrated the World Environment Day, more than 581,173 hectares of Amazonian Forest in the Brazilian Amazon have been granted further protection around Xixuaú. The new conservation unit has been formally recognised by Brazil President Michel Temer as the Extractive Reserve (Resex) of the lower Rio Branco-Jauaperi between the Amazonians state of Amazonas and Roraima. Extractives Reserves (RESEX) are areas used by traditional extractive populations and the basic objectives of the RESEX are to protect the means of life and culture of these populations, and ensuring the sustainable use of the natural resources of the unit.