Prehispanic Cultures from the Napo and Aguarico, Ecuadorian Amazon
The ancient cultures of Amazonian Ecuador are little known and are generally referred to using the cultural phases identified by Evans and Meggers along the Río Napo in 1968. With new archeological data, this book attempts to help establish a chronological backbone of cultural development in the Northern Ecuadorian Amazon. To accomplish this, the principal (and perhaps only) durable materials in the Amazonian environment, ceramic fragments, were used.
Approximately 50 years ago, we completely ignored the origins of the first inhabitants of Ecuador. We did not know about the long process which transformed them from simple hunter-gatherers to being the participants of complex cultural phases of sendentary habits. Until now efforts to unveil this mystery had fallen to deveoted archeologists such as Jacinto Jijon y Camano, Emilio Estrada Icaza and Pedro Porras. Nevertheless, this book, Ancestral Cuyabeno, constitutes an example that said commitment has also passed on to the hands of private entities, in this case AEC Ecuador Ltd*.
This work demonstrates that every new finding and study is one more piece in the complex puzzle of discoveries that is out past – a priceless contricbution from the archeologists themselves and the company that supports them.
*Walsh managed the archeological field research for AEC Ecuador Ltd.
Mark Thurber participated in the workshop on Environmental, Social, and Health Impact Assessments: Fundamental Tools for Understanding and Sustaining Biodiversity where strategies for protecting biodiversity were discussed. His talk "Petroleum development and biodiversity action plans in Ecuador and Yemen" addressed some the challenges facing the upstream petroleum companies in sensitive environments.
Petroleum companies (Operators) are challenged by the potential presence of Peoples in Voluntary Isolation (PVIs) within remote petroleum concessions. Operators must evaluate the feasibility of conducting seismic exploration within pristine areas where PVIs could exist. One example is the Yasuni National Park in Ecuador, home to indigenous peoples, including a few tribal groups in voluntary isolation. The Park permits multiple uses, including biodiversity conservation, sustainable use of rainforest products, ecotourism, petroleum extraction, and a No-Go-Zone for the protection of PVIs.
In a recent case, an Operator’s concession overlapped 50% of a proposed No-Go-Zone detailed in a 1999 government decree. The conflicting uses had not been clearly delineated spatially or with a detailed management plan when the Operator acquired petroleum concessions in 2003.
Seismic exploration programs conducted in remote tropical regions typically emphasize operational efficiencies, security and safety, sometimes at the expense of mitigating environmental impacts in these highly sensitive environments. Gran Tierra Energy Inc. and Walsh Environmental Scientists and Engineers have developed a set of benchmark environmental standards in Peru, based on 15 years of experience in the Amazon, that address significant impacts without putting onerous demands on the seismic contractor or inflating costs.
Building Stakeholder Consensus For An Oil Pipeline In Lago Agrio, Ecuador
Petroleum companies operating in the Ecuadorian Amazon historically have been faced with strong community opposition to large infrastructure projects, particularly pipelines. Pipelines have been delayed in government permitting, communities have attempted to stop construction, legal actions have been initiated for environmental and community damages during and after construction, and operating pipelines have been sabotaged causing lost production and significant environmental damage from oil spills and significant social impact from contamination or explosions.
An integrated waste management plan was developed and implemented in a remote desert petroleum-producing region of Yemen. Challenges included: an absence of in-country contractors that recycle, handle hazardous, non-hazardous, and mixed waste; sensitive receptors including nearby communities, groundwater and desert ecosystems; limited options for safe disposal within the petroleum block; logistical challenges of transporting waste long distances in sand sea environments, and historical ad hoc disposal practices by previous operators that created waste liabilities.
Areas of petroleum exploration in the upper Amazon basin of Ecuador have a high diversity of fauna, which is attracted to and depends on dispersed microhabitats such as clay licks (geophagy), nesting areas, animal dens, watering and bathing holes, fruiting trees and leave-cutter ant and termite nests for feeding, watering, and reproduction.
Multiple seismic exploration programs have been conducted in the Ecuadorian Amazon since the 1970s without reusing previously leared areas for heliports and camps, resulting in unnecessary cumulative deforestation impacts. Walsh Environmental Scientists and Engineers (WALSH) and EnCana have developed a remote sensing technique to eliminate these redundant impacts by accurately identifying historic heliports and camps in mature tropical rainforest for reuse in a 3D seismic exploration program.
One of the most significant social-environmental and construction challenges for pipeline installation in primary tropical rainforest is preventing the secondary impact of deforestation and land-use conflicts. Occidental Petroleum in Ecuador and WALSH developed an innovative technique of constructing a pipeline right-of way (ROW) in the lowland rainforest of the Ecuadorian Amazon without a permanent road and leaving canopy bridges to facilitate migration of arboreal mammals.
WALSH in year 2005 the poster “Canopy Bridges Allow Arboreal Animals to Traverse Pipeline Corridors” presented by WALSH was awarded with the Best Poster Award from the Division of Environmental Geosciences during the 2005 Annual Convention of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.
Authors: Mark Thurber, Antonio Semanate, David Sánchez
WALSH once again participated for the AAPG’s Best Poster Award in the in year 2006 with two posters about the subject: "Reducing Deforestation Impacts of 3D Seismic in Tropical Ecuador using high Resolution Satellite Imagery"
Authors: Mark Thurber, Antonio Semanate
Análisis de una parcela permanente de bosque secundario en la Reserva Biológica Limoncocha
Authors: Iván Suárez & Félix Chávez
Estado de Conservación actual de la Mastofauna en la Reserva Biológica Limoncocha
Authors: Lincoln Nolivos
Catastrophic natural origin of a species-poor tree community in the world’s richest forest
Authors: Nigel C. A. Pitman, Carlos E. Cerón, Carmita I. Reyes, Mark Thurber and Jorge Arellano
Permitting and Building an Oil Pipeline in Lago Agrio-EcuadorSep16-2004
Authors: Fernando Benalcazar & Mark Thurber