It is around five in the morning, and the Imataca Forest Reserve is stirring with the voices of Kariña women. They advance towards the middle of the jungle, bound for the Botanamo river to gather the day’s water. Then, these indigenous women will prepare “casabe”, a circular tortilla made from cassava flour, to accompany what other members of the tribe have brought in from the hunt. After breakfast they turn to their main task of the day: managing and conserving the forest.

“We go to look for oysters in the mangroves to feed our families and for business. This is how I make a living. If I work for two to three days, I can earn money to cover my expenses,” says Fatou Sarr, President of the Women Transformers Group of Diamniadio, a cooperative and producers’ organization that supports small-scale oyster producers.

Scientists say that these next ten years will count the most in the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss. 2021 marks the start of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, and this is our opportunity to turn the tide to prevent, halt and reverse degradation of ecosystems worldwide.

Huamani Cardenas lives in Lima, but is originally from Conayca, a rural town of roughly 1 300 people in the central highlands of Peru. When he received a delivery of fresh food from his hometown, he was thrilled. “I sincerely thank the authorities of Conayca for thinking of us,” he wrote in a social media group for young Conaycans living in Lima.

©FAO/Edwin Mwai
Land holds the past, present and future of humanity. Everything from nutritious food and thriving ecosystems to agricultural heritage and livelihoods rely on healthy and productive land. Yet every year, an average of 100 million hectares of land are degraded through unsustainable agriculture, urbanization and more frequent and prolonged droughts.