TWTIS (Tareno and Waiana protected area in South Suriname under development). In 2015, indigenous leaders of nine villages in the South of Suriname signed a declaration on protection and sustainable development of an area of 7.2 million hectares covered with pristine tropical forest. In 2018 this initiative, formerly known as the South Suriname Conservation Corridor (SSCC) program, was renamed Tarëno Wajana tïnonokon ikurumane soire weinje (Trio) and Tarëno wajana tïlonkom ïkulunmahe Soitüna (Wayana) by the indigenous people. Conservation organizations, indigenous organizations and other institutes cooperate in the implementation of this program.

In addition to keeping a healthy forest, including fresh water on which the people in the villages are dependent, one of the most important objectives is improvement of the wellbeing of the villagers by setting up indigenous businesses, as well as the implementation of sustainable projects such as commercial exploitation of non-timber forest products (NTFPs). This will enable the people to earn a living and to expand their knowledge.

Conservation agreement

Since 2016, the village of Alalapadu has been working closely with Conservation International Suriname towards developing the village and protecting the region
surrounding Alalapadu. In 2017, after a consultation period of almost a year, a Conservation Agreement was signed between Alalapadu and Conservation
International Suriname. On 29 June 2019, this agreement was extended to 2020 inclusive, while the area to be monitored was expanded from 70.000 ha to 235.000 ha.
This refers to clear arrangements on protection of the area and the Tuhka nut trees and to measures to improve the living conditions of the people of Alalapadu. Important
elements of this agreement are the improvement and expansion of the production of Tuhka nut oil and Tuhka roasted nuts and monitoring the sustainability of the activities.

In March 2021, the conservation agreement between Alalapadu and Conservation International Suriname was renewed and is valid until June 2023.

The monitoring team

To harvest and process the Tuhka nuts into Tuhka oil and Tuhka roasted nuts in a sustainable way, it is important to monitor the forest surrounding Alalapadu. The Tuhka nut tree is on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) as a threatened species. The Tuhka nut tree needs a healthy ecosystem to survive while dispersal of the seeds is dependent on the Agouti  (Dasyprocta leporina) or Konkoni to crack open the outer casing of the fruit and hide some of the seeds in the ground to eat later. However, the cache is not always retrieved which results in dispersal of the trees.
The monitoring team consists of six persons:

  • Adeseke Marosijape: teamleader in Alalapadu
  • Eripase Enaachpe: acting teamleader in Alalapadu
  • Jeckson Tai Tai: member of the team
  • Kasinbu Terenkane: member of the team
  • Awinash Jitashe: member of the team
  • Delano Marosijape: member of the team

The team is responsible for monitoring monthly, which includes collecting information about the Tuhka nut trees: how many nuts a tree produces per month; how many nuts the Agouti
cracks open; the diameter of the nut trees.

Sustainable entrepeneurship

Stichting Tuhka is the owner of the community enterprise in Alalapadu where the Tuhka products are fabricated. Forest monitoring, which is part of the conservation agreement with Conservation International Suriname, the collection of nuts and the production of Tuhka oil and Tuhka roasted nuts, provides employment for 23 families
in the community. As a result of this, the community enterprise became the biggest source of income since 2018 for Alalapadu. By sustainably using the forest, by fabricating products out of NTFP’s, the community can sustain themselves and is also able to conserve their living environment, The Amazon Rainforest.

Stichting Tuhka works with partners to distribute and sell the products in Paramaribo and is constantly searching for other sales markets. With these earnings, the Stichting pays the salaries of the employees and is able to purchase supply materials.