Growing Trees Network Foundation on the Amazon

You can donate fast growing Balsa trees with great carbon capture effect in the Ecuadorian Amazon.


The COVID-19 pandemic in Ecuador and the Amazon has struck the Indigenous people hard. In addition to the health consequences, the fragile markets of which the Indigenous peoples are a part have collapsed due to the pandemic. The ecotourism industry, which until the pandemic played a central role in many Amazonian villages, has collapsed and the sales of traditional goods have been extremely limited. The limited economic opportunities put the Indigenous peoples in a desperate situation in order to raise funds for health, education and basic food items.

In the Ecuadorian Amazon, this has left the Shuar with little to no economic activities, and there is an imminent danger that illegal logging or hunting could become the only means of making a living.

1st picture: Our partner responsible for the Ecuadorian project Søren Hoff Brøndum, next to a Balsa tree 6 - 7 months old.

Purpose of the project

The purpose of Project Wawazonia is to generate income among the villagers of the native Shuar communities through investment in the sustainable production of balsa wood (called Wawa in Shuar). The establishment and management of the new balsa forests will provide employment and enable the Shuar to say no to pressure from illegal loggers. By producing the balsa in plantations, on previous farmland, the demand for wood is concentrated on a smaller area, creating a buffer for the undisturbed primary forest and eliminating the need for cutting balsa in the primary forest. The project will also launch a Shuar led Climate Fund that will invest in sustainable economic activities in the villages, such as tourism, craft production, fish farming and the like.

Expected result:

  • To establish 25 hectares / 50.000 trees in three different indigenous Shuar communities.
  • Create jobs related to the production and management of balsa plantations.
  • Market and sell sustainable balsa timber from the plantations no later than 4 years after establishment, combined with skills and general education level about sustainable forest management.
  • Carbon capture through plantation establishment as well as carbon emissions displacement effect by use of balsa wood products. One hectare of balsa forest captures 30 tons of carbon per hectare per year, which can be purchased by companies.
  • Establish a Shuar led climate fund. The fund will receive DKK 1 per tree planted and 5 percent of the profit from the sale of balsa wood. The fund will support sustainable development in the communities, such as ecotourism, women's group activities, craft production and the development and sale of traditional medicine, etc.

About Balsa

In the Shuar language, the balsa tree is named Wawa. It grows naturally in the rainforest of Ecuador. In Spanish, balsa means raft. It is a lightweight timber and floats easily. Due to its lightness and strength, balsa is used for a wide range of products: wind turbines (blades), planes, ships, cars, pencils, model aircraft and fishing tackle, etc.

Scientific name:      Ochroma pyramidale
Density:                    150 kg. per m3
Height growth:        20-30 meters in 4 years
Diameter growth:   25-35 cm after 4 years
Volume growth:      150-200 m3 per hectare per year (marketable quantity)

Read more about the project in the brochure here