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Biodiversity conservation in a wild therapeutic garden; the case of Takiwasi center botanical reserve in the peruvian high-amazon

Born as a center for the treatment of addiction and mental health and for the research on traditional Amazonian medicine, the Takiwasi Center, located in the Peruvian high-Amazon, over more than 25 years of existence has developed a series of parallel activities focused on the conservation of the environment and the recovery and promotion of Amazonian medicinal flora and of the indigenous knowledge related to it, within the general frame of “planetary health”.

In this context, an on-site Botanical Garden has been created with a linked plant nursery that produces timber and medicinal species that are later transplanted into the Botanical Reserve of the center, an area of 54 hectares located within the borders of the San Martin Regional Conservation Area “Cordillera Escalera”. In this sector, in addition to a project of reforestation and conservation of the species of the Amazonian flora with a focus on medicinal plants, therapeutic activities are also performed such as the so-called traditional dietas, which offer participants a space of contact and reconnection with nature and with their inner self, to be able to work on certain psychological or emotional problems. For the future, the will of the center is to integrate the Botanical Reserve into an ecotourism route to be developed and managed in coordination with other local associations dedicated to biodiversity conservation.

The strategic importance of the Botanical Reserve can then be observed, serving both for therapeutic purposes, for the conservation of local endangered biodiversity, and for the promotion of sustainable development alternatives such as ecotourism, that at the same time take into account, protect and promote the cultural richness of the region derived from indigenous ancestral knowledge.