The Amazon Reserve for Peace is also SVSF’s Research Centre. We believe that academic investigation, the gathering and analysis of empirical data, combined with the commitment to implement corrective measures, constitutes the structural approach whereby SVSF, as a grass roots organisation,  has become a vehicle for environment protection, social change and participatory sustainable development.

Beyond any reasonable doubt, the primary threat to the survival of the Amazon Rainforest and its ancestral inhabitants is posed by extractive industries; oil, mining, lumber and monocrop agriculture. Consequently, extensive research has been focussed  on these activities.


Oil is the primary sector of the Ecuadorian economy accounting for 50% of export earnings and 34% of tax revenues. However, the ecological and human cost of Amazonian oil is incalculable as it is recognized as the worst oil induced environmental disaster in history. SVSF research statistics speak for themselves:

  • Since 1980, 1 billion gallons of toxic brine – consisting of petroleum, formation water and chemicals – are drained annually into the watershed;
  • With a daily oil discharge of 2,100-4,200 gallons, the oil industry has dumped 35 million gallons of crude into the rivers;
  • Four million gallons of untreated toxic waste enter the watershed per day;
  • Three billion cubic feet of gas has been burnt without emission controls;
  • The presence of Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in drinking and bathing water near major oil wells reach 401,800 and 423,000 nanograms per litre; 28 nanograms equals a lifetime cancer threat, US and European health agencies recommend that the presence of PAHs in water be close to 0.

Similarly, shocking data applies to mining, especially regarding levels of mercury and arsenic in waterways.

While the studies related to oil and mining have been provided to Amazon communities and their legal representatives, leading to numerous law suits, SVSF prefers to avoid litigation, as this has proven to be exceedingly costly and justice does not normally prevail, especially when multi-nationals are involved.

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