15 innovations to restore and protect the Amazon


  • Continued deforestation and the degradation of ecosystems pose major economic, cultural and environmental threats to the Amazon region and the planet.
  • The Trillion Trees: Amazon Bioeconomy Challenge called for innovative solutions that conserve and restore the biodiversity of the Amazon and provide social and economic benefits to local communities.
  • 15 Top UpLink Innovators have been announced and will receive support to increase their impact and meet potential experts and funders who can accelerate their ideas.

Home to over 34 million people and 10% of the world’s known biodiversity, the Amazon is a mega-diverse ecosystem that accounts for 20% of the world’s remaining forest areas. Continued deforestation and the degradation of ecosystems pose major economic, cultural and environmental threats to the region and the planet. We urgently need to scale up sustainable “bioeconomy” models that preserve and restore the Amazon rainforest while making sustainable use of its standing forest resources and providing livelihoods for its people.

In June 2021, 1t.org and UpLink launched the Trillion Trees: Amazon Bioeconomy Challenge to call for innovative bioeconomy projects that are locally anchored to conserve and restore the biodiversity and ecosystem functions of the Amazon, and offer social and economic benefits to local communities.

The challenge was designed and executed in collaboration with Amazon Investor Coalition, IDB Lab, Initiative 20×20, IPAM, NESsT, Salesforce, The Nature Conservancy, and XPrize Rainforest. It received 87 submissions that were carefully reviewed and evaluated by the 1t.org community of experts and partners, including the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization, to elect a cohort of 15 Top UpLink innovators.

Over the next few months, Top Innovators will have the opportunity to share and learn from each other, and 1t.org and UpLink will be working intensively with this group to scale up their impact by promoting their work on our platforms. social media, showcasing them at our events and pitching them to experts and potential funders who can accelerate their ideas – most notably, all Top Innovators will have the chance to be accelerated for the grant and investment programs of the IDB Lab.

Here are the top innovators who are at the forefront of the Amazon bioeconomy:

Adapta and Rioterra Group integrate catering with the increase in production and income of Brazilian family cocoa producers. They provide family farmers with technical assistance for high-quality regenerative cocoa, provide resources to finance necessary infrastructure, help monitor their impact and open market access for family farming.

Agrosolidaria Florencia strengthens the value chain of non-timber forest products in the Amazon rainforest. Their 65 hectares of agroforestry system in Caquetá, Colombia, includes products such as Sacha Inchi, Castaño, Copoazu and Açai, among others. Through their work, they support families committed to the conservation and restoration of ecosystems, while consolidating development and regional identity offering a new opportunity for the region.

Aliados’ The vision is to fundamentally transform the way business is done in the Amazon. Their solution brings together a diverse network of indigenous, business, philanthropic and impact partners in a regenerative bioeconomy alliance in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Aliados enables this alliance by incubating 10 agroforestry value chains with 2,000 indigenous families who are bought in a sustainable way by 10 companies.

Amazon 4.0 positions Brazilian Amazonian communities as effective managers of the forest that take advantage of its natural resources to generate innovative local bio-businesses, value-added products at all links in the chain, without losing sight of conservation, local employment and social inclusion. Their first demonstration is Amazon Creative Laboratories, a field training and capacity building program for local people.

Amazonia Emprende develops, trains and replicates nature-based solutions in collaboration with local communities in the Colombian Amazon. Their forestry schools have already helped restore 30 hectares of land and they plan to expand the program and offer the program to 1,500 families in Caquetá over the coming year.

Alisos Foundation builds a business model for nature tourism for indigenous communities in the Colombian eastern Amazon, with a view to establishing sustainable economic alternatives that benefit communities while respecting the environment and social, cultural and economic traditions.

by Nativien mission is to co-develop intercultural models that serve a dual purpose: the preservation of the indigenous social fabric and the protection of the land that has supported them for millennia. Through their cooperative in Ecuador, they transform and transform more than 40 plant materials into value-added products while serving as a hub for young people and indigenous women to preserve traditional knowledge and improve livelihoods.

Onisafra, headquartered in Manaus, Brazil, is a digital platform for the traceability, distribution and sale of sustainable and organic products connecting small farmers in the Amazon to consumers.

Shiwi is a Peruvian company that seeks to create harmony between humanity and nature by allowing the conscious consumption of products from protected natural areas.

SumaSach’a provides Latin American biodiversity products that contribute to the health, beauty and well-being of global consumers through inclusive business programs that ensure the inclusion of smallholders and the sustainable production of over 29 promising species . They work with over 1,100 smallholders in Colombia and 100% of their harvests comply with organic standards.

UPF Amazonas Originaria: trains indigenous producers in Puerto Ayacucho, Venezuela, on forest conservation and the production of non-timber forest products from species from the Amazon rainforest. They work with 12 indigenous women and people in vulnerable situations from the local community to restore deforested lands and establish an agroforestry system that sets an example of a sustainable bioeconomy.

Initiative V5 works with the Kuy Yeremepö indigenous community in Venezuela to expand traditional agroforestry systems that are in harmony with the ecological integrity of Canaima National Park (a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site), preserve Pemón indigenous ancestral knowledge and enhance the quality of life of local communities.

YhuLife works with indigenous-led community businesses to plant Amazonian vanilla plants in 4,000 hectares of agroforestry systems and sell them in international markets to help increase incomes in rural Ecuador.

Young climate leaders: their Amazon Bioeconomy Cluster Builder is directly inspired by the Amazon and its inhabitants and increases the connectivity and engagement of the main catalysts (human talent, companies, institutions, financial resources and biodiversity) in order to position each to obtain an optimal share of the opportunities and growth within the Bioeconomy.

Yorenka Tasorentsi is a Brazilian association led by indigenous people that implements agroforestry and sustainable agriculture on ancient pastures to ensure a sustainable future for the region of Alto Jurua. Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in the region come together to work hand in hand in contributing to ecosystem restoration, cultural exchange, mutual respect, social justice, equity and equality.

Do you have an idea that could help our forests? Want to offer help to one of the Innovators? Join UpLink now.


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