Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)

The Amazonian Chakra, a traditional agroforestry system managed by Indigenous communities in Napo province, Ecuador

GIAHS since 2023

The Amazonian Chakra can be defined as a sustainable land-use model in which productive spaces located within the farm are managed by families under an organic and biodiverse approach, valuing ancestral knowledge. The Amazonian Chakra, with its biological and cultural diversity, offers multiple services to the populations. These range from food security, provision of ecosystem services, maintenance of cultural values, to social cohesion, and the maintenance of a megadiverse landscape.

The Kichwa concept of family goes beyond the nuclear family and expands to the community and territory. The Chakra is the place where family and community build their relationships, where the union of the human community with nature and deities is strengthened. With the Amazonian Chakra, the Kichwa and Kijus communities have developed a productive diversification in which cocoa is found together with timber, fruit, medicinal, handicraft, edible and ornamental species and other activities including livestock rearing, hunting, and timber and non-timber forest products.

In terms of efficient management of the low fertility of Amazonian soils, the Amazonian Chakra system is unique as it integrates the knowledge of forest and watershed management, where the Napo’s communities implement a series of agroforestry arrangements and practices to ensure shade and soil care. Over the last two decades, interest in this concept has grown, as a production option that can help smallholders potentially become more resilient to climate change, as well as economic and market changes.

Flickr Album

ECUADOR - Amazon Chakra