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XIXUAU, a modern vision of conservation through technology

© Luca Locatelli

Xixuau’ is a community of “Ribeirnhos”, people who lives in the river's banks in the Amazon forest.
Multinational companies always use them as cheap harms for their business inside the forest.

This small community of ‘Riberinhos’ tired of being exploited, have been working in a different direction in the last 20 years and they start to develop a model of conservation that protects a vast area of primary forest, exceptionally rich in biodiversity, creating an economy based on conservation. They believe that people and the environment are inseparable in their case, they don't like cities and they choose to live in their environment as indigenous people do.

After 20 years of fights can demonstrate to other 'Riberinhos' that it is possible to preserve the environment, while also applying the most positive aspects of technology and gain more money through conservation. They defend their forest by controlling commercial fishing, illegal hunting, fires and timber exploitation.

Since 2002 the Xixuaú project installed a solar powered satellite internet link up. It was the first system of this type in the Amazon. The satellite connection brought the reserve out of its isolation and into contact with the rest of the world and through a solar energy system inside the village they provide power to the eco-tourism buildings, the school and an office where inhabitants follow up the activity with various partner around the world.

In order to conserve biodiversity the Xixuaú has therefore hosted various scientific research projects, in partnership with the foremost research institutions from Brazil and across the globe.

They are now asking to the Brazilian Ministry of Environment to incorporate the Xixuaú-Xiparinã within a much larger protected area, which would be legally designated as an Extractivist Reserve for a total of 500.000 hectares of virgin forest and they are just waiting for the last sign of the agreement from the Brazil’s President. If this will happen it means their model can be replicated in other areas of the Amazon and many other communities will join them for a big change in that area.

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This was commissioned by GEO Magazine (France)

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