Peru – Tree sap brings prosperity

The state and indigenous people are co-managers of a conservation area in the Peruvian Amazon. 

Armando del Arca positions his knife. With a few short, sharp movements, he cuts a slit in the rubber tree’s light-grey bark. The fresh cut immediately oozes a viscous, white liquid – latex – which drips into a plastic beaker at the foot of the 30-metre tree.

Few people know the primeval forests of the El Sira mountains as well as this 85-year-old, a member of the Asháninka indigenous people. His hair is as white as snow, his tanned skin pitted and furrowed by the passage of time. This is where he grew up, the heart of Peru, where the Amazon meets the 2,400-metre foothills of the eastern Andes. El Sira is one of ten communal reserves in Peru. What is unique about these conservation areas is that they are co-managed by the nature conservation authority and the indigenous population.

On assignment for the German cooperation agency GIZ.