The Amazon Conservation Team (ACT) is an NGO that helps to conserve the Amazon by working in direct partnership with the indigenous people. Founded in 1996 by ethnobotanist Dr. Mark Plotkin and renowned conservationist Liliana Madrigal, ACT has spent the last decade and a half forming partnerships and empowering Amazonian indigenous peoples to protect their land and culture through grassroots conservation.
Unlike traditional conservation models, ACT has been committed to remaining agile, focused, local and empowering. Working hard at capacity building among their indigenous partners, ACT has built collaborative relationships with more than 30 indigenous groups and pioneered the idea of supporting indigenous people to conserve and sustain endangered land.
During its first 15 years, ACT has expanded field operations to the northwest, northeast and southern Amazonian regions. Together with their indigenous partners, ACT has laid the essential groundwork for long-term protection of more than 70 million rainforest acres in South America. Recently, ACT developed the idea to train indigenous cartographers to map traditional lands using handheld GPS devices. The people have worked to create accurate maps of their homelands while laying the groundwork for negotiating how their land will be used.
ACT continues to work directly with their indigenous partners to mitigate and develop adaptation models for the effects of climate change while using technology to track their collective progress for the entire world to see. The emphasis they have put on the importance of humans in the conservation process has provided an innovative and continued solution to potential threats to the Amazon.