Center for Amazon Community Ecology (CACE), Iquitos, Peru

Center for Amazon Community Ecology (CACE) promotes the conservation and sustainable development of human and other biological communities in the Amazon region. Through research, community support and education, they study the ecology and develop the sustainable harvest and marketing of non-timber forest products such as fruits, fibres, resins, and oils. They work with indigenous people to sustain local resources and support them to create and market innovative fair-trade products so they can improve their livelihoods and strengthen their communities while regenerating the forest.

CACE was founded in 2006 and supports over 16 local communities in the Amazon region around Iquitos. The artisans are mostly women between 19-60 years old, living in the forest and rural regions of the Peruvian Amazon. Their main goals are to :

  • Study the ecology, sustainable harvest and marketing of tropical forest products.
  • Assist forest-based peoples to sustain local resources and strengthen their communities.
  • Help connect Amazon communities with international partners to support forest conservation and other local development goals.

These goals have been achieved through activities like:

  • Hosting skill-sharing workshops for local artisans, to teach them new models of products that are more in demand in the international market or with tourists: baskets, belts, guitar pads, tree ornaments, bottle carriers, etc.
  • Supporting the creation and development of artisan associations and cooperatives, to allow them to sell more to large-scale buyers and tourist groups, and improve their communication, marketing and quality control skills.
  • Beyond increasing artisan income, 20% of the net profits from craft sales is used to support health, education and conservation needs in the local communities, as identified by the local partners.
  • Reforestation and sustainable use of the natural resources: planting more chambira palm trees (used in making woven crafts), rosewood trees (used to make essential oils) and improving the efficiency of harvesting.
  • The patterns used on the crafted products are depicting models of plants and animals to promote awareness of the region’s rich biodiversity.

The organization was founded by Dr. Campbell Plowden, an American activist with a passion for tropical forest conservation, environment and social justice. CACE is registered in the US as a 501-c-3 non-profit organization, and now in the process of officially registering in Peru. They have recently registered the shop as a company called GarzaViva and are in the process of registering the NGO (called CECAMA). Campbell lives in US and visits Peru twice a year, while in Peru there is a local team formed by an accountant, an administrator and a programme coordinator.


For more information, please visit their website.