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.





    Mycorestoration – A Solution to the Pollution in the Amazon is centered on the relocalization, preparedness and response of communities to this emergency situation. This research and educational initiative empowers participants to rethink and re-design the way in which they relate to biological resources from their region in order to be part of the solution to the problem of industrial pollution that we are faced with today. 

    We are employing the use of Mycorestoration and Permaclture principles. Permaculture is a holistic approach to how we design our lives and our relationship to all the systems that support us. The principles and practices of Permaculture are rooted in indigenous wisdom and natural patterns, along with the integration of the appropriate technologies of today. By using these design skills, this research provides the most progressive and integrated approach available today, in empowering people in utilizing biological resources to remediate polluted land and foster environmental justice.

    By securing funding for this initiative we will be able to afford the resources to make soil and water sampling to document the baseline amounts of petroleum hydrocarbons in the soil and the water. This will afford us the opportunity to determine the advantageous use of fungi in bioremediation for mitigating the impact of oil spills and other contamination. 

    We will generate further remediation within this contaminated region through five three-day workshops held at various sites. Participants will learn about the fungal lifecycle, its role in the ecosystem, mycelial installation methodology, soil and water testing, mushroom cultivation for food and medicine, and rainwater catchment and filtration techniques using physical, chemical and biological strategies. 

    Once trained, workshop participants become mentors who work with neighboring communities to teach mycoremediation techniques. These mentors will be provided with informational booklets, DVDs and the supplies necessary to implement mycoremediation at additional sites in the region. 

    The project team will work with Ecuadorian NGO, El Frente de la Defensa Amazonia, and local community councils, the University of Quito, Amazonian environmentalists, and the Kichwa residents. 

    If you would like to find out more or help fund this critical project, tax deductible donations can be sent via....

    For the 15 minute film "Solution to the Pollution" see


    For the latest from TIME


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