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Nature & Culture International: Our Story

Nature & Culture International, established in 1997, is dedicated to the conservation of biological and cultural diversity. It acts locally to protect highly biodiverse and threatened ecosystems through concrete actions with local staff. In the face of the worst drought recorded in the Amazon River Basin in over 100 years, it helped establish PROCREL, a project of the Regional Government of Loreto (Amazon), which has enacted regulations to protect 18 million acres of fragile headwater basins that are the lifeblood of the rainforest and its people. In 2010, Ivan Gayler, founder of Nature & Culture International, was awarded the San Diego Zoo's Conservation Metal. This prestigious award has been given to such luminaries as Jane Goodall, Edward O. Wilson, and H.R.H. Prince Philip.

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Aún Hay Tiempo (There's Still Time) - A Music Video

Through a collaborative effort between NCI, the Institute for Investigation of the Peruvian Amazon (IIAP) and the new Peruvian band, ILLAREK, we are pleased to share this ecologically-themed music video that draws attention to the importance of conserving our tropical ecosystems. ILLAREK, based in northern Peru, is dedicated to producing latin music that stresses the conservation and preservation of nature. This video clip was recorded by a local recording studio called Granpri Producciones. Lyrics and compostion are by ILLAREK.




Amor America: Perfume from the Fruit of the Palo Santo Tree

For many years, the dry forests of Zapotillo in southern Ecuador harbored a resource that would offer an excellent source of income for the poor people of the region. In 2007 and 2008, Nature and Culture assisted the communities of Malvas, Chaquito, Paletillas de Malvas, and Totumos (80 families in all), by developing a program to benefit from the fruit of the Palo Santo tree. The local community members harvest the fruit in a sustainable manner (collecting only 10% of the fruit from each tree), and then in partnership with the Technical University of Loja the essential oils of the fruit are extracted. These fragrant oils are sold to Natura, a Brazilian cosmetics company that develops fine perfumes for the international market, who then produces the Amor America perfume, which is currently marketed in a number of countries around the world.

Click here for more information about Amor America

The Ethanol Lie: A Film About the Impact of the Cultivation of Corn in Dry Forests

The biological richness of the dry forests of Ecuador has been threatened by the high prices of corn, due especially to the international demand for ethanol as a biofuel and to the damages caused by unusual climatic phenomena. Besides the deforestation of many hectares of forest that occurred between 2006 and 2008, the negative impacts in the communities caused by such items as access to cultivated land, use of agrochemicals, loss of native varieties of corn, and cultural changes due to increased economic income, are also very significant. For this reason, the problem was documented in a video that denounces the terrible effects that biofuels are causing for nature and society. This video was made by an independent film maker who traveled in this region of southern Ecuador.

Click here for more information about this film and the ethanol problem



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