Ecovillage project


ALTO MADIDI TOURISM ECOVILLAGE PROJECT


PRIMARY OBJECTIVES of the AMTEV project:

  • The protection of the 35,000 hectares of the Candelaria Madidi Reserve and some 300,000 hectares of the adjacent Madidi National Park through effective patrolling and protection efforts carried out by a body of seven dedicated park keepers, financed by the income generated by the ecotourism company that will be created by the project.
  • The initial creation of 35 fixed jobs specifically for the tourist services and conservation efforts, with salaries 250% to 1000% greater than Bolivia's minimal wage.
  • The injection of around 500,000 dollars a year in a impoverished area of Bolivia (Ixiamas municipality) through direct and indirect sales of services (flights, food, tourism).
  • Around 20,000 dollars a year generated by the profits produced by the ecotourism company that will be used for sustainable development projects that benefit around 800 local people through drinkable water systems, schools, health facilities, etc.
  • Ecological education imparted to 800 local people on ecological and self-sustainable practices.






Why an ECOVILLAGE and not an ECOLODGE?

Normally Ecolodge projects around the world are designed to have minimal if no environmental impact around the immediate area where the cabins are located, normally no more than 1 or 2 hectares. This is taken to the extreme of forbidding music, having limited tourism capacity, avoiding soil compaction,  etc.

This is easy to sell to ecologically aware travelers by saying it's "really ecological", and to the 1 or 2 hectares that are being extremely respected, it's true. But behind the sales desk there's a much more complex scene that takes place.

In a place where music is forbidden and activities are limited, so is the possibility to generate income. In most cases (we have carefully studied many amazon Ecolodges) the monetary resources generated are barely enough to keep the company going. In other cases it is not enough and the company disappears.

So how does this help preserve the forest around the ecolodge?

Well, supposedly there is an area that is declared protected thanks to the ecolodge in place. But in reality legal protection doesn't do much good. In the rainforest it is very easy to hunt, fish, log and mine in protected areas if there is no real presence of patrolling guards.

That's the difference we are trying to make with this project, where if enough monetary resources are generated by a still eco-friendly tourism attraction, then we can pay a fixed and dedicated body of private park keepers to patrol our 32,000 hectare reserve and some 300,000 hectares of the adjoining national park, besides being able to offer more jobs for the people that otherwise would carry out the non environmentally-friendly activities.


The SECONDARY OBJECTIVE of the AMTEV 

Is to design a self-sustainable community that will serve as a development model for future communities. We believe that modern capitalist and globalized development is a totally unsustainable way of living and therefore comes the necessity to design and experiment with other models of  social development.  AMTEV is the starting point for what is to become a "role model" of sustainable and ecological way of living, the other big reason we are creating an Ecovillage and not a Ecolodge.

Never before have these two great ideas come together in a single project. The benefits are extensive. Here are some examples:

  • All the produce consumed by the tourists and the workers is generated within the village, so nothing needs to be bought outside and transported to the reserve. This can save big quantities of fuels used for transportation.
  • A top of the line organic restaurant where everything it serves is produced locally can become a huge attraction
  • Hunting is forbidden and wild animals linger around the village.
  • Workers in the tourism services live next door, so there are no long periods of family separation. With the resources generated and the education imparted, the quality of their lives change dramatically.
  • Scientific research of plant and animal species advances greatly since researchers don't need to go to the forest to study, they are living in it.
  • A new native-wisdom-based educational system is created for the village that can serve as an educational role model for future communities. Like this, new health, economic and social systems are created for the community. 
  • Can you think of more benefits? There are many more. The AMTEV project is open for participation!


 PROJECT DESIGN


The main purpose of the tourist attraction is to be able to deliver effective tools to explore, discover and fully enjoy and understand the natural resources described above. As a secondary tourism attraction objective, we want people to offer comfort, fun, culinary and amusement tools to prove that the Amazon can be a place worthy of staying enjoying a long time, and to do this the AMTEV will offer the following:

Exploration, Wildlife and Adventure
  • Trekking expeditions- Fully trained native guides that can take people on 5 to 25 day-long trekking expeditions in the area. 
  • Adventure and investigation expeditions- We will have motorized boats on the Madidi River, special camping equipment and specialized trails to be able to offer customizable exploration expeditions in the region.
  • Wildlife observation platforms- strategically located
  • Scientifically designed interpretative trails- 15 km marked -walk yourself- trails
  • Birding tours- Specialized guides to successfully carry out this activity

Biological Interpretation & Recreational Tourism
  • Cabin Rental- The possibility to rent cabins with self-use kitchen and have access to an organic market.
  • Biological interpretation center- A small museum with plant samples, insect collections, photos, library and more
  • Canopy tour- not a zip line canopy, rather a canopy walk, or elevated trails.
  • Scientifically designed interpretative trails- 5 km of trails for small children and senior citizens.
  • Mountain biking- Specialized trails and equipment for this activity
  • Canoeing- On the Madidi River
  • Horseback Riding- Specialized trails
  • Camping area- The attraction is designed for all budgets. A very economical campground with common bathroom, showers, laundry and common kitchen. Organic products produced in the village can be bought. 
Ecotourism & Volunteering
  • Ecovillage organic farms- All the products for tourist's and worker's consumption are produced organically within the village. Participating in these activities becomes an option.
  • Organic Restaurant- A big attraction these days. Very complete and dedicated meals
  • Organic Market- of the products produced locally.

Cultural Tourism, Ethnic tourism
  • Living museum- Interact with the many workshops on site. Visit a real life modern Ecovillage based on the wisdom and culture of the native people.
  • Workshops- Be able to take classes in the many workshops like basket weaving, ceramics, arts and crafts, dance, etc.
  • Visit to nearby indigenous communities- The nearby Tacanas and Araona groups can make for very interesting and mutually beneficial tours.


Keeping it ecological

A different philosophy. Many Ecolodge projects are based on conservation philosophies thought out by western biologists. These philosophies part from the idea of disturbing the surrunding environment as little as possible and treating the project as if humans were not part of the environment. 

Natives in the Amazon and elsewhere have a very different philosophy and wisdom on the subject. They (we) believe that humans have always been a part of the environment. Proof of this is that half of the medicinal plants used by natives only grow on secondary forests that grow after some human agricultural work has been carried out. 

Other very detailed observations in animal and plant behavior will also point out to the conclusion that humans have been present all along and are an inseparable part of the evolution of all plant and animal species. We part from native's perspective, and the same native point of view is the one that tells us that if we are to protect the Amazon we need to be able to sustain humans within the protected area without the necessity of bringing food and other products from other places.

Material used for construction. It is far more ecological to utilize the natural resources found on site to build the cabins, than to utilize large amounts of gasoline and create roads to transport materials from other places. For this we have the philosophy of using the fastest renewable building materials.

Chonta Palm.  We are using the fastest renewable building materials, which in this case is the chonta palm tree, to build the walls and floors of our cabins. In other places they utilize wood, which for the case you need to cut down a tree that takes a lot more time to grow back, than chonta palm does.

Jatata leaf. For the roofs we will use the jatata leaf. This fast-renewing and small palm is the best material you can use for roofs. They are long lasting, very fresh, completely water proof, fire retardant and makes an insect-free mice-free roof.

The cabin's layout. Some Ecolodges completely deforest the immediacy of the cabin's area, because of the threat of falling trees and branches, and because it allows the sunlight to penetrate, helping the cabins roofs last longer. To make up for this, they will then grow "gardens" around the cabin's to make it "prettier". 

For the AMTEV we are only clearing a 40 meter diameter circle next to the main lodge that will be the main "solar" and will allow the sun to enter and give all the health benefits you get from sunlight. But for the rest of the cabin's we're simply not touching absolutely any tree or plant, making it a much more attractive natural garden.

The cabins are spread out, giving the sense of being in nature, and making it possible to see animals from your cabin. We will carefully monitor the trees and branches in the cabin's vicinity and remove any branch or tree that may threaten to fall. This is easy to know, there are types of trees that are a lot more fragile and can detach if hit by a strong wind, and plagues that make trees and branches fall off can also be monitored and removed.


The self-sustainable Ecovillage design

Organic society development. While we will begin construction based on established ideas and laws, the idea of organic development means that not everything needs to be pre-planned to begin construction. It means that as a village is born and grows, so are the ideas and the design schemes. 

The ecovillage layout and laws.  Candelaria Madidi Ecológico is a REAL native-structure community, meaning it has an organic structure, leaders, and is legally registered in Bolivia. All of this is possible without having YET a human settlement. Community members gather once a month in the Town of Ixiamas. The organization has a communitarian structure, meaning that members have benefits and responsibilities in the community; they pay entrance and annual fees to be part of the community. 

Once financing arrives for this or any other projects, then the beneficiaries are the community members, they will receive jobs and capacitation, besides being legitimate owners of the companies created.

Candelaria Madidi Ecologico Community is OPEN and receiving members. You can be a part of it, if you meet the requisites. The first is Speaking spanish. If you meet this first requisite, you can visit the community page in Spanish to learn more.

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