A Solution to the Pollution in the Ecuadorean Amazon
An Educational Initiative of the Cloud Forest Institute, in affiliation with The RITES Project, Return Intention Towards Ecological Sustainability, is working to secure additional funds for this critical research project.
Project location: Lago Agrio, Sucumbios, Ecuador
Mission and purpose of the Mycorestoration Research Project:
This project is designed to:
research and evaluate use of native mycelium in an oil-contaminated area of the Ecuadorian Amazon;
train local residents to advance implementation of mycorestoration throughout the region; and
disseminate resources and information to further research and expand mycoremediation applications.
Over 40 years of oil-extraction in the Ecuadorian Amazon have created what is likely the worst oil-related disaster on the planet.
A Solution to the Pollution in the Ecuadorian Amazon aims to reverse this crisis by using fungi (mycoremediation and mycofiltration) to enzymatically break down petroleum hydrocarbons in water and soil.
Mycelial networks function as a filter, allowing water to flow through its membranes, while retaining and dismantling contaminants.
This reduction will improve the region’s soil and water quality, the health of the surrounding community, and enhance the extensive biodiversity of the region.
This research initiative empowers participants with experience in how to implement this innovative technology, proven effective in laboratory and small-scale field studies, through a carefully planned training process.
The pilot study entails an international team of mycologists and other specialists working with local NGOs to prepare Ecuadorian mentors with the knowledge to perpetuate the process in additional sites through a collective support and teaching structure.
Conventional remediation methods being evaluated for the region costs an estimated six billion dollars and involve digging up, hauling out, and disposing of an enormous amount of contaminated land. The proposed mycoremediation techniques are more economically feasible, socially responsible and ecologically sound. The implementation of mycorestoration strategies is much more affordable, less labor intensive and utilizes local labor and indigenous fungi to expedite the restoration of the region.