Linking culture and conservation in the Caura River Basin

Palm Climbing Project Expands to Peru

Sunday, April 21, 2013

In mid-April, we took Caura Futures' palm climbing gear to the Nanay River watershed in the Department of Loreto, Peru. Members of eight communities participated, and we were very impressed with their enthusiasm. The workshops gave us an opportunity to talk with fruit harvesters about their own experiences climbing palms for fruit. One man had taken a 30-foot fall when the worn webbing he was using for stirrups broke. He'd had a two-month stay in the hospital and was a bit tentative at first using our gear, but soon climbed several trunks. A development of particular note was that--for the first time--we tested the gear extensively on Mauritia flexuosa palms, locally known as "aguaje." The gear worked even better on aguaje palms than it does on Oenocarpus bataua palms. One can hardly travel a few blocks in the center of Iquitos, Peru without seeing aguaje fruits for sale. The market for palm fruits is very strong in Amazonian cities and we look forward to working with palm fruit harvesters there again in the near future.