Suriname Program

ACT’s most enduring projects in Suriname are roughly continuous with the organization’s inception. The program’s basis was the ethnobotanical fieldwork of ACT co-founder Dr. Mark Plotkin, who directed his research toward understanding traditional plant uses and treatments of indigenous healers in the region. ACT-Suriname's work emerged from Dr. Plotkin’s desire to help his indigenous colleagues to retain their cultural identity and conserve their environmental heritage in the face of modern change.

Our first two major efforts in Suriname were precedent-setting biocultural conservation initiatives: the consecutive establishment of an intergenerational traditional medicinal knowledge transmission program (“Shamans and Apprentices”) and a series of village-level traditional medicine clinics, and the first large-scale participatory cultural mapping project conducted in the Amazon, using a methodology that we subsequently replicated in Brazil and Colombia.

ACT Suriname Projects

Click the thumbnails or titles to learn about each project area.

Cultural and Land Use Mapping

Ethnoeducation

Increasing Agricultural Yields and Sustainable Income Generation

Indigenous Park Guard Program

Natural Resource and Biodiversity Management

Shamans and Apprentices Program / Traditional Medicine Clinics

ACT Suriname Map Tour

View our ACT Suriname Map Tour to learn more and see where our projects are located.

ACT Suriname News

Posted on Monday, February 1, 2016

In September, ACT-Suriname staff visited the Matawai territory for a second time this year, to validate the maps that were produced on the basis of data collected during fieldwork in February and March. The team also went on a three day expedition to chart out a path to nearby Ebba Top mountain.

Posted on Tuesday, January 19, 2016

On October 8, 2015, Suriname’s Ministry of Agriculture, Cattle Breeding, and Fisheries and the Amazon Conservation Team Suriname signed a three-year collaboration agreement.

Posted on Monday, December 28, 2015
On Tuesday, November 17, 2015, the Trio shamans Riri Pinoma, Wuta Wajimnoe, and Amashina Oedematoe were decorated with the Honorary Order of the Palm by the President of Suriname Desiré Bouterse. This annual decoration ceremony had a special significance this year, as Suriname became an independent country exactly 40 years ago.

ACT Suriname Field Notes

By: Steven Leeflang
Date: Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Travel to the villages of the remote rainforest interior of the country of Suriname is expensive and difficult, prohibitive even for most well-off residents of the nation’s capital city and certainly for young students.

By: Steven Leeflang
Date: Thursday, September 10, 2015

In Suriname’s rainforest interior, ACT’s joint project with the University of Utrecht encompasses inventories of a wide variety of species, including mushrooms—or “koropi” as they are known in the local Tareno language.

By: Steven Leeflang
Date: Monday, August 31, 2015

It is 6 a.m. when the students wake up to the drip, drip, drip of water falling from nearby trees. It rained heavily throughout the night. The early morning rousing is now routine for these young people—collaborators in a“twinning” (partnership) project engaging ACT Suriname and the University of Utrecht.