Yurúa Conservation Concession (112,850 acres) Contributes to Key Mosaic in Peruvian Amazon

Protecting the ancestral territories of indigenous peoples living in the Amazon basin is a key component of Andes Amazon Fund’s conservation strategy. As a part of this work, we proudly supported the creation of Yurúa Conservation Concession, which preserves 112,850 acres (45,669 ha) of rainforest in Ucayali, Peru.

 Yurúa contributes to a massive bi-national protected area mosaic that spans 25 million acres (10 million ha) across Peru and Brazil. Containing one of the most intact forest ecosystems in the world, it includes areas such as Manú National Park, Alto Purús National Park, and the Mamoadate Indigenous Reserve. A full range of flora and fauna can be found in this region, including the endangered black spider monkey (Ateles chamek), giant river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis), and one of the largest freshwater fish species on the planet, the arapaima (Arapaima gigas).

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Often referred to as the Purús-Manu landscape, this area is also considered one of the most culturally diverse mosaics within the Amazon basin. Its home to over 15 indigenous communities and those living in voluntary isolation, known as Pueblos Indígenas en Aislamiento Voluntario y Contacto Inicial (PIACI).

The creation of Yurúa is a major win for indigenous peoples in the region, particularly the Ashéninka, Asháninka, Yaminahua, Amahuaca, and Yanesha communities. To ensure the area’s long-term protection, Yurúa will be managed by the Asociación de Conservación Comunal de Yurúa.

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“The fact that indigenous people are using Peru’s innovative conservation concession mechanism to protect their homeland is very significant. We hope that other indigenous communities will follow the same path. No one has more to gain or to lose than the indigenous people that depend on these wilderness areas for the fundamental needs they have: food, water, and shelter,” said Dr. Adrian Forsyth, Executive Director of AAF.  

 This initiative was led by local communities with the support of AAF grantees Upper Amazon Conservancy (UAC) and ProPúrus, in addition to other partners such as the Peruvian National Protected Area Service (SERNANP) and the UN Development Program (UNDP). AAF applauds the work of those involved in the creation of this area.

Download a map of the conservation concession here.

Photos by Jason Houston.

 

Ixiamas Creates Largest Municipal Conservation Area in Bolivia: Bajo Madidi

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Triple the size of Grand Canyon National Park, the recently created Municipal Conservation Area of Bajo Madidi protects 3,794,291 acres (1,535,495 ha) of pristine savannas, wetlands, and rainforest in northwestern Bolivia. This area contributes to a bi-national protected area network spanning 7.14 million acres (2.89 million ha) that includes Madidi National Park in Bolivia and Tambopata National Reserve in Peru. As the largest municipal conservation area in the country and perhaps even the world, the declaration of Bajo Madidi is a conservation milestone for Bolivia.

“The creation of Bajo Madidi is a conservation accomplishment of global significance. This area holds some of the most ecologically intact savanna landscapes in the world. The residents of Ixiamas depend of this region for clean water, fish, and sustainable livelihood opportunities,” said Dr. Adrian Forsyth, Executive Director of Andes Amazon Fund (AAF).  

Located in the municipality of Ixiamas, Bajo Madidi provides a critical refuge for wildlife such as the maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), Orinoco goose (Neochen jubata), and marsh deer (Blastocerus dichotomus). These species– along with the many others found within the area–depend on the preservation of large landscapes for their survival. While grassland and wetland ecosystems across South America have suffered from unsustainable development, the ones found within Bajo Madidi are intact due to the remoteness of the area.

The area’s creation will also ensure the protection of the six rivers that flow through Bajo Madidi, which are important for the migration of fish, birds, and other animals. While very few people live within the municipal conservation area, these rivers are vital for the food security of nearby communities.

“Bajo Madidi can serve as a model for municipal led conservation efforts in Bolivia and beyond,” said Megan MacDowell, AAF Project Director.

The protection of Bajo Madidi was an initiative led by the Municipal Government of Ixiamas  with the consultation of more than 800 local stakeholders and the support of Conservation International-Bolivia and Asociación Boliviana para la Investigación y Conservación de Ecosistemas Andino Amazónicos (ACEAA). AAF provided financial support for the creation of the area in partnership with the Wyss Campaign for Nature. We congratulate the Government of Ixiamas and all of the local actors who made this conservation achievement possible.

 


Launch of Patrimonio Natural del Perú (PdP)

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Andes Amazon Fund (AAF) celebrates the launch of Patrimonio Natural del Perú (PdP) through an alliance with the Peruvian Ministry of Environment, the National Protected Area Service (SERNANP), and partnering NGOs. By providing $70 million USD in funding for Peru’s protected area system, the initiative will support the creation of new areas and the management of existing ones in the Amazon basin. This will ensure the long-term sustainability of the country’s renowned protected area network. 

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“The government of Peru has made a substantial commitment to protect the Amazon headwaters. It has recently conserved a number of vast landscapes with immense biodiversity and cultural importance. The creation of the PdP will help sustain these areas and is thus a conservation achievement of global importance,” said Dr. Adrian Forsyth, Executive Director of AAF.

 The PdP is similar to Herencia Colombia– a Colombian protected area financing mechanism supported by AAF– in that it combines private, public, and multilateral financial support. By guaranteeing that a sustainable source of funds is available to cover the costs of managing protected areas and strengthening livelihoods of local communities, the PdP is a model for nations committed to protecting their critical lands and waters.

 AAF is partnering with the Wyss Foundation and the Wyss Campaign for Nature to accelerate the pace of nature conservation with a goal of protecting 30 percent of the planet by 2030 and securing vital financial resources necessary to manage new and existing protected areas over the long-term. Through this partnership, AAF has committed $3 million USD for the PdP. These funds will be used to support the management of areas created with AAF support, such as Yaguas National Park, along with a number of environmental initiatives. Other funders such as the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) have also contributed financial resources to the PdP.

Yaguas National Park is one of the protected areas that the PdP will support.

Yaguas National Park is one of the protected areas that the PdP will support.

“The PdP guarantees that Peru’s protected area system is a part of the country’s future, benefiting local populations with a sustainable vision,” said Enrique Ortiz, Program Director of AAF.

 AAF congratulates President Martín Vizcarra, Minister of Environment Lucia Ruiz, SERNANP, and the NGOs involved for securing the future of Peru’s national protected areas.

Huamboya Municipal Conservation Area: Protecting Priority Ecosystems in Central Ecuador

The new Municipal Conservation Area of Huamboya will conserve 103,082 acres (41,716 ha) of sub-tropical montane forest along the eastern slope of the Andes Mountains. Located in the province of Morona Santiago in Ecuador, this area increases connectivity between Sangay National Park, Pastaza Provincial Reserve, and Río Upano Municipal Conservation Area– a network of protected areas spanning over 7.5 million acres (3 million ha). In recent years, the municipality of Huamboya has been under increasing deforestation pressure due to agricultural development. The new municipal conservation area will reduce this threat.

“It’s fantastic to see that municipal governments in Ecuador are partnering with civil society organizations and indigenous peoples to protect these vital watersheds, which are among the most biodiverse on the planet. This brings the responsibility for habitat protection right down to the local level. Ultimately, local people and their government representatives should be fully engaged in the task of conserving their natural resources,” said Andes Amazon Fund Executive Director Dr. Adrian Forsyth.  

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 Comprised of eight areas with an elevational gradient of 2,000 to 5,600 feet, Huamboya fills a biodiversity gap in the country’s national protected area system. This is critical for the preservation of species such as the vulnerable spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus), lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris), and giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla). The area has also been identified as an Endemic Bird Area with an estimated 36 range-restricted species. These include the Ecuadorian piedtail (Phlogophilus hemileucurus), coppery-chested jacamar (Galbula pastazae), and napo sabrewing (Campylopterus villaviscensio). Scientists estimate that Huamboya contains a high level of plant endemism, as 20% of Ecuador’s total endemic plant species can be found in the nearby and ecologically-similar area of Sangay National Park. 

Huamboya will also safeguard important water resources for local communities and will help preserve the cultural traditions of the indigenous Shuar Nation. The Andes Amazon Fund congratulates the Municipal Government of Huamboya, grantee Naturaleza y Cultura Internacional (NCI), and local partners for this conservation achievement. We will provide additional support for the management of the newly created area.

Download the full press release here.

Our Impact in 2018: 8.3 Million Acres Protected

From the eastern Andes mountains to the lowland Amazon rainforest, Andes Amazon Fund (AAF) protects the most biodiverse ecosystems on our planet. This part of the world harbors the greatest concentration of plants and animals on Earth, is the home of millions of indigenous people, and contains an estimated 20% of the world’s freshwater. But today, this region also faces a tremendous number of threats caused by climate change, deforestation, and other forms of unsustainable development.

 As a part of our continued commitment to conserving the Andean Amazon, we helped create 8.3 million acres (3.4 million ha) of protected areas and indigenous territories in Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, and Ecuador in 2018. A few of the notable areas declared with our support include:

 1)    Chiribiquete National Park expansion in Colombia: Expanded by 3.7 million acres (1.5 million ha), Chiribiquete became the world’s largest tropical rainforest national park in July. Protecting a total of 10.5 million acres (4.2 million ha), this area contains one of the highest rates of biodiversity in Colombia and unique rock formations known as tepuys. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site given its cultural significance and assemblage of more than 70,000 cave paintings. AAF supported the work of Fundación para la Conservación y el Desarrollo Sostenible (FCDS) to create this area and pledged an additional US $1 million in partnership with the Bobolink Foundation to support its initial management.      

Chiribiquete is now the world’s largest tropical rainforest national park.

Chiribiquete is now the world’s largest tropical rainforest national park.

 2)    Yaguas National Park in Peru: Peru’s newest national park protects 2,147,166 acres (868,928 ha) of rainforest and a vast river system with one of the richest fish faunas in the world. These fish stocks help provide food security for those living in Loreto— the largest state in Peru— including six indigenous communities who reside near the park. Yaguas also safeguards a number of vulnerable and endangered species such as giant otters, manatees, and Amazon river dolphins. As a part of the alliance known as Vamos Yaguas Parque Nacional, AAF provided financial support to Instituto del Bien Común (IBC), Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental (SPDA), and Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF). We also pledged an additional US $1 million with the Bobolink Foundation for the park’s management.

 3)    Zamora Chinchipe Provincial Reserve in Ecuador: Conserving 1,098,611 acres (444,592 ha) of forests and páramo grasslands, Zamora Chinchipe includes a network of four conservation areas— Yawi Sumak, Cordillera del Cóndor, Bracamoros and Fuentes de Agua— and an extensive river system. This area houses one of the highest concentrations of plant species on Earth, contains endangered wildlife such as the white-bellied spider monkey and the mountain tapir, and is highly geodiverse. Zamora Chinchipe is also a source of clean water for more than 91,000 people, including members of the indigenous Shuar nation. AAF supported the work of Naturaleza y Cultura Internacional (NCI) to establish the reserve in December.

More than 91,000 people depend on the ecosystem services provided by Zamora Chinchipe.

More than 91,000 people depend on the ecosystem services provided by Zamora Chinchipe.

 4)    Shunte-Mishollo (Boshumi) Regional Conservation Area in Peru: Boshumi Regional Conservation Area will conserve a key landscape in the region of San Martín spanning 472,973 acres (191,406 ha). This area lies in the transitional zone between Peru’s puna grasslands and montane forest, adding to a conservation corridor that includes Río Abiseo National Park, Los Chilcos Private Conservation Area, and more than 6 conservation concessions. The Regional Government of San Martín identified Boshumi as a social and environmental priority due its fundamental role in the collection and regulation of water. The area was also created to protect its unique biodiversity, which includes a number of endangered and emblematic species, such as the yellow-tailed woolly monkey. AAF provided financial support to Asociación Amazónicos por la Amazonia (AMPA), Naturaleza y Cultura Internacional (NCI), and Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental (SPDA) for the creation of the area.

5)    Itachini-Itayuro Municipal Conservation Area in Bolivia: Established in late 2018, this area protects 241,200 acres (97,610 ha) of Andean cloud forests in the southern part of the country. This type of ecosystem contributes to local watersheds and regulates the flow of water, which helps to prevent both droughts and floods. Nearby communities also depend on the water produced in this area for their livelihoods. Itachini-Itayuro safeguards vulnerable species such as the Andean bear, white-lipped peccary, military macaw, and the near-threated jaguar. AAF supported the work of Natura Foundation Bolivia, following requests from local people to protect this landscape.

Additional areas legally protected with our financial assistance in 2018:

 “Assuring the legal protection of key areas is an important step that complements local and national efforts to protect their natural and cultural heritage. It also creates the basis of a sustainable economy. We are committed to making this happen,” said AAF Program Director Enrique Ortiz.

 AAF takes a comprehensive approach to ensure the protection of the Andean Amazon. Not only do we increase the capacity of civil society organizations, local and national governments, and indigenous peoples, but we also support efforts to ensure the long-term sustainability of existing protected areas.

AAF hosts annual workshops for its partners to strengthen institutional capacity.

AAF hosts annual workshops for its partners to strengthen institutional capacity.

 Since we first began in 2015, we have supported the conservation of over 15 million acres of land and are on track to protect an additional 4 million acres this year. In only four years, we have almost doubled our initial commitment of creating 10 million acres of protected areas by 2021. This would not have been possible without the work of our 24 grantee organizations in collaboration with local partners and governments, and the support of our donors— the Wyss Foundation, blue moon fund, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the Bobolink Foundation.

 “The Andes Amazon region fortunately has vast areas of habitat that remain in excellent condition. We have a brief window in time where we can get legal protection for these landscapes so that they will remain healthy for future generations. Seizing this magnificent opportunity for conservation is our number one priority,” said AAF Executive Director Dr. Adrian Forsyth. 

Download the full press release. 

Photos: APECO, Field Museum, FCDS, NCI, SPDA, Gaia Amazonas, and AMPA.

Boshumi Regional Conservation Area: Protecting a Vital Source of Water in Peru

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The new Regional Conservation Area of Bosques de Shunte y Mishollo (known also as “Boshumi”) will conserve a key landscape in the region of San Martín spanning 472,973 acres (191,406 hectares). This area lies in the transitional zone between Peru’s puna grasslands and montane forest, adding to a conservation corridor that includes Río Abiseo National Park, Los Chilcos Private Conservation Area, and more than 6 conservation concessions.

The Regional Government of San Martín identified Boshumi as a social and environmental priority due its fundamental role in the collection and regulation of water. Its páramos feed into the upper Huallaga basin, which supplies more than 69,000 people with water for drinking, agriculture, and other activities. The protection of these páramos is particularly critical in the face of climate change, as they can help prevent both droughts and floods— both of which have become increasingly common in Peru due to rising global temperatures.

 “Boshumi is a spectacular landscape that is vital to tens of thousands of people because it supplies them with clean water. The protection of Boshumi by the Government of Peru and the Regional Government of San Martín is a wise and important act for people and for nature,” said Dr. Adrian Forsyth, Executive Director of Andes Amazon Fund.  

 Boshumi was also created to protect the area’s unique biodiversity, which includes a number of endangered and emblematic species. The yellow-tailed woolly monkey (Oreonax flavicauda), the Andean cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola peruvianus), and the spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus) can all be found within the area. More than 1,500 species of plants have been identified within Boshumi as well, including 43% of the known palm tree species in Peru.

 The declaration of Boshumi is timely, as the area faced a number of outside threats, including illegal mining, illegal logging, and road construction. To ensure the area’s continued protection, local communities will work in partnership with the Regional Government to help manage and monitor Boshumi.

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 “Boshumi Regional Conservation Area adds to the Gran Pajatén Biosphere Reserve that protects more than 6.2 million acres of land with enormous conservation value and great tourism potential. We applaud San Martín for setting an example of leadership and for its commitment to a green and sustainable Peru,” said Enrique Ortiz, Andes Amazon Fund Program Director.

 The Regional Government of San Martín led this conservation effort with the help of Andes Amazon Fund (AAF) grantees Asociación Amazónicos por la Amazonia (AMPA), Naturaleza y Cultura Internacional (NCI), and Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental (SPDA), with support from the national government. Congratulations to the Regional Government of San Martín, Minister of the Environment Fabiola Muñoz, the Peruvian Protected Area Service (SERNANP), AMPA, NCI, SPDA, and local partners for all of their hard work in establishing this new protected area.

Click to download the full press release.


Santa Elena, Bella Durmiente, and Gran Ochanache Conservation Concessions Advance Forest Protection Efforts in San Martín

Gran Ochanache Conservation Concession

Gran Ochanache Conservation Concession

Last week, the Regional Government of San Martín announced the creation of three conservation concessions that will safeguard Peru’s biodiversity and support sustainable development. Challachaqui-Renacal de Santa Elena, Bella Durmiente, and Gran Ochanache will protect a total of 28,590 acres (11,570 hectares) of wetlands and montane forests. These areas will contribute to a growing network of protected areas in the region— unique in the types of ecosystems and species that they harbor. 

Challachaqui-Renacal de Santa Elena

With an altitudinal range of 2,651 - 2,720 feet above sea level, Santa Elena will protect 3,053 acres (1,235 hectares) of palm and fig swamps in the upper basin of the Rio Mayo. These ecosystems are a high conservation priority, as they help filter and regulate the region’s water supply and provide communities with food such as fish, legumes, and palm fruits known as aguaje. The ecological richness of Santa Elena not only supports the livelihoods of local people, but also sustains a wealth of flora and fauna. This includes the two-toed sloth (Choloepus didactylus), the white-throated toucan (Ramphastos tucanus), and the critically endangered San Martín titi monkey (Plecturocebus oenanthe). The area’s scenic beauty provides it with great tourism potential, which could generate new economic opportunities for surrounding communities.  

Challachaqui-Renacal de Santa Elena Conservation Concession

Challachaqui-Renacal de Santa Elena Conservation Concession

Bella Durmiente

Spanning 5,913 acres (2,393 hectares), Bella Durmiente is strategically located in the buffer zone of the Alto Mayo Protected Forest. Its proximity will help serve as a barrier against potential deforestation and environmental degradation, which pose serious threats to protected areas in the region. By increasing connectivity, Bella Durmiente will also allow species— such as the  spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus) and the critically endangered yellow-tailed woolly monkey (Lagothrix flavicauda)— to migrate more freely. This will help support healthy populations and will prevent the loss of other emblematic species found within the area, including the Andean cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola peruviana) and the giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus).  In addition to montane forest, Bella Durmiente contains natural springs that contribute to the microclimate of the area. 

Bella Durmiente Conservation Concession

Bella Durmiente Conservation Concession

Gran Ochanache 

The largest of the three conservation concessions, Gran Ochanache forms part of the Abiseo Cóndor Kutukú Conservation Corridor and the UNESCO-recognized Gran Pajatén Biosphere Reserve. Its creation advances a regional conservation strategy to protect one of the greatest biodiversity hotspots on our planet— the Tropical Andes. By safeguarding 19,624 acres (7,942 hectares) of humid montane forest, this area will help ensure the survival of vulnerable species such as the white-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari) and the military macaw (Ara militaris). The headwaters of the Bombobaje and Pajaten Rivers can be found within the concession, both of which flow into the Jelache River and east into the Huayabamba River. 

Santa Elena, Bella Durmiente, and Gran Ochanache will be managed by local communities with the support of Andes Amazon Fund grantee Amazónicos por la Amazonía (AMPA). We applaud the Peruvian Ministry of Agriculture, the Forestry and Wildlife Service (SERFOR), the Regional Government of San Martín, AMPA, and the local communities who led this conservation initiative. “The Government of Peru continues to be the world leader in creating conservation concessions. This is a truly innovative conservation tool that lets civil society organizations take on the important role of managing state lands that would otherwise be unprotected. These public-private partnerships could and should be more widely adopted by other governments that retain control over large areas of land,” said Dr. Adrian Forsyth, Executive Director of Andes Amazon Fund. 

Gran Ochanache Conservation Concession

Gran Ochanache Conservation Concession


Maps can be accessed here: Santa Elena, Bella Durmiente, and Gran Ochanache.

Download the full press release.

Photos: AMPA.

New Cascales Municipal Conservation Area Increases Protected Area Connectivity in Ecuador

The Andes Amazon Fund (AAF) celebrates the creation of Cascales Municipal Conservation Area, declared on November 27, 2018 in Ecuador’s Sucumbios Province. Rich in biodiversity, this area will protect 152,021 acres (61,521 hectares) of forest along the eastern slope of the Andes Mountains.

Located close to Cayambe Coca National Park, Cuyabeno National Wildlife Reserve, Sumaco Napo-Galeras National Park, and Cofán Bermejo Ecological Reserve, Cascales will help prevent ecosystem fragmentation within this network of protected areas. This is particularly important for the migration of vulnerable and endangered species— such as the mountain tapir (Tapirus pinchaque) and the northern pudu deer (Pudu mephistophiles)— that depend on large tracks on land remaining intact. 

The ecosystems found within the new Municipal Conservation Area and its inhabitants face increasing pressure from climate change. Scientific research has shown that as global temperatures rise, plants and animals move to higher elevations over time. When habitats such as these remain connected, species have a better chance of survival as they migrate. 

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“The newly created Cascales Municipal Conservation Area is extremely strategic because it connects to the Cofán Bermejo Ecological Reserve along the border with Colombia towards Sumaco Napo-Galeras National Park and also is closely placed next to Cayambe Coca National Park. This increase in connectivity enhances the resilience of all of these protected areas and will allow them to do a better job of resisting the impacts of climate change. Without these large interconnected protected areas, it will be impossible to maintain top predators and other key wildlife that need vast areas in order to survive,” said Andes Amazon Fund Executive Director Dr. Adrian Forsyth.

The Municipal Government of Cascales led this conservation effort with the support of Andes Amazon Fund grantee Naturaleza y Cultura Internacional (NCI) and local actors. We congratulate Ecuador for this significant achievement that will ensure the long-term protection of the country’s unique ecosystems. 

“The Andes Amazon Fund is proud to support the conservation vision of the people of Cascales. Their local efforts are giving countless species a chance to survive, while ensuring a healthy environment for the families in the area,” said Andes Amazon Fund Project Director Megan MacDowell.

Download the full press release.


Photos: NCI

Colombia Expands Three Amazonian Indigenous Reserves by 113,103 Acres

The Andes Amazon Fund celebrates the expansions of Puerto Córdoba, Comeyafú, and Camaritagua indigenous reserves in the Amazonas department of southern Colombia. Known as resguardos, these areas are inhabited by thirteen indigenous groups, including the Bora, Barasano, Carijona, Cubeo, Letuama, Miraña, Matapi, Macuna, Tatuyo, Tariano, Tanimuca, Uitoto and Yucuna. The expansion of the three reserves will not only strengthen conservation efforts in the Colombian Amazon but will also ensure the survival of these threatened peoples and their cultures.  

Expanded by a total of 113,103 acres (45,771 hectares), Puerto Córdoba, Comeyafú, and Camaritagua will contribute to an existing network of protected areas, strengthening the connectivity between Yaigojé Apaporis, Río Puré, Cahunarí, and Chiribiquete National Parks. This is an area of high conservation priority, as it includes the basins of the Puré, Mirití Paraná, and Apaporis rivers and contains at least one known uncontacted indigenous group— the Yuri.

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“With the expansion of these important resguardos, Andes Amazon Fund has supported 5 million acres of new habitat protection in the area around Chiribiquete National Park. This huge block of protected habitat offers the best hope for maintaining healthy ecosystems while providing the natural resources that indigenous people depend on,” said Andes Amazon Fund Executive Director Dr. Adrian Forsyth.

The Colombian Amazon faces one of the highest rates of deforestation in the country. Between January 2017 and February 2018, an area 27 times larger than the size of Manhattan was lost due to small-scale agriculture, landgrabbing, illegal mining, coca cultivation, and other illicit activities. Indigenous land stewardship and the recognition of ethnic-community land rights have proven to be some of the best ways to stop this destruction.

“Securing the legal land rights of indigenous peoples will prevent potential illegal activities and further environmental degradation. These steps are needed now more than ever,” said Andes Amazon Fund Program Director Enrique Ortiz.  

Close to the border of Brazil, the expanded resguardos will now protect a combined total of 285,778 acres (115,650 hectares) of tropical humid forests, flooded forests, and vegetation associated with rocky outcrops, lakes, and rivers in the region. These areas harbor a wealth of biodiversity, such as an estimated 1,500 species of plants, 300 species of birds, 100 species of amphibians, and 300 species of fish.

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This effort was led by the thirteen indigenous communities with the support of the Colombian government and our grantee, Gaia Amazonas. We congratulate the indigenous communities residing in Puerto Córdoba, Comeyafú, and Camaritagua, President Iván Duque, Agencia Nacional de Tierras, Gaia Amazonas, and other partners for this landmark achievement that will help ensure the protection of the Colombian Amazon and those who call it home.     

Download the full press release here.


New Monte Puyo Conservation Area Contributes to Protected Area Mosaic in Northern Peru

Photo: ABC

Photo: ABC

The Andes Amazon Fund (AAF) is pleased to announce the creation of the Monte Puyo (Bosque de Nubes) Private Conservation Area, which secures 39,915 acres of cloud forest and wetlands in the region of Amazonas. In response to rising deforestation rates in northern Peru, the Yambrasbamba community led this conservation initiative in partnership with AAF grantees American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN), with support from the national government. Declared on October 5, 2018, Monte Puyo is regarded as a high-conservation priority due to its extraordinary biodiversity and proximity to a number of existing protected areas.

 “More than 500 bird species live inside the new Monte Puyo Private Conservation Area, including the endangered ochre-fronted antpitta and speckle-chested piculet. The endangered long-whiskered owlet likely occurs here too but remains to be confirmed. This forest is also home to iconic mammals like the Andean bear and the critically endangered yellow-tailed woolly monkey,” said Constantino Aucca, President of ECOAN.  

Long-whiskered owlet (Xenoglaux loweryi). Photo: ECOAN

Long-whiskered owlet (Xenoglaux loweryi). Photo: ECOAN

 In an effort to protect their territory from outside threats, the Yambrasbamba community will manage the new Private Conservation Area. This categorization within Peru’s National Protected Area System is unique in that it allows communities to set aside part of their communal property for conservation, while allowing for sustainable development opportunities.

 “This new protected area helps our community protect our watersheds and biodiversity, helps us to attract tourists to come see unique geological formations within our underground caves, and helps us defend our territory against invasion by colonists from outside,” said Walter Colongos Collaton, President of the Yambrasbamba community.

 In addition to the social, environmental, and economic benefits that the area will provide to local people, it will also serve as a conservation tool on an even greater scale. By shortening the gap between nine protected areas, including the Alto Mayo Protected Forest, Rio Nieva Reserved Zone, and Cordillera de Colán National Sanctuary, Monte Puyo adds to a conservation mosaic of over 800,000 acres. This will help ensure the survival of the area’s unique flora and fauna and will help mitigate climate change by preventing additional deforestation. 

Monte Puyo Private Conservation Area (#4) better connects an existing network of protected areas by extending an adjacent 183,750-acre cluster of three national reserves, including the Cordillera de Colan National Sanctuary (#1), and nearly connecting these with an additional 576,798-acre cluster of five protected areas to the east that includes the Alto Mayo Protected Forest (#8), Rio Nieva Reserved Zone (#6), and Abra Patricia Reserve (#7). Note: Monte Puyo’s boundaries shown on this map are about 6 percent larger than the final approved boundaries. Click to enlarge map.

“When ABC teams up with a local partner like ECOAN to protect critical bird habitat, they also protect thousands of other species, many of which are unknown to science. In addition, Monte Puyo is an important watershed that provides clean water for communities living around the protected area and for the Amazon basin as a whole,” said Dr. Adrian Forsyth, Executive Director of AAF.

ABC and ECOAN will continue working with communities in northern Peru to further strengthen the conservation mosaic. AAF congratulates the Yambrasbamba community, Minister of the Environment Fabiola Muñoz, the Peruvian Protected Area Service (SERNANP), ABC, ECOAN, and other partners for the creation of Monte Puyo. The Wyss Foundation provided critical financial support that made this achievement possible.

Download the full press release here.

Yellow-tailed woolly monkey (Oreonax flavicauda). Photo: ECOAN

Yellow-tailed woolly monkey (Oreonax flavicauda). Photo: ECOAN


Cujillo Private Conservation Area: Protecting One of Peru’s Most Unique Ecosystems

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The Andes Amazon Fund is pleased to announce the creation of Cujillo Private Conservation Area, established on August 24, 2018. Located in the region of Cajamarca, this area will protect 9,242 acres of dry forest next to the Marañón River.

The creation of Cujillo Private Conservation Area was the result of the hard work of local communities, the Peruvian Protected Area Service (SERNANP), the Ministry of the Environment (MINAM), Andes Amazon Fund grantee Naturaleza y Cultura Internacional (NCI), and others.  

Cujillo will help conserve one of Peru’s most unique ecosystems, which has been compared to the Galapagos Islands for its level of endemism. Its dry forests contain flora and fauna of high conservation priority, such as the grey-winged Inca finch (Incaspiza ortizi), the spot-throated hummingbird (Leucippus taczanowskii), and Polychrus peruvianus— a type of lizard that can only be found in three regions in Peru.

Nearby communities depend on its non-timber resources for their livelihoods. Many of the plants found in the area have great medicinal value and can also be useful during times of drought, such as Melocactus bellavistensis, a species of cactus.

 In addition to its ecological and social value, Cujillo also has a large potential for tourism. Visitors can enjoy a variety of adventure sports and ecotourism activities in the area, such as river rafting, hiking, and bird watching. An increase in tourism will help boost local economies and provide new employment opportunities for communities. A recent study conducted by Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) found that protected area tourism in Peru generated $720 million in 2017.

 The Andes Amazon Fund congratulates President Martín Vizcarra, Minister of the Environment Fabiola Muñoz, SERNANP, NCI, and the people of Peru for this environmental achievement.

Download the full press release. 

 

Photos: NCI

Partnership Pledges $1 Million for the Expansion of Chiribiquete National Park in Colombia

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The Andes Amazon Fund and the Bobolink Foundation congratulate the Colombian government for expanding Chiribiquete National Park. To support this endeavor, the organizations will contribute $1 million for the implementation of the new area, declared by the Colombian government on July 2, 2018. 

The contribution is part of an ongoing partnership between the Andes Amazon Fund and the Bobolink Foundation to support the effective management of protected areas in the Andes-Amazon region of South America. This collaborative effort was first announced in March, following the creation of Yaguas National Park in Peru. 

The donation will contribute to Herencia Colombia (Heritage Colombia)— a government-led financing initiative that aims to strengthen the management of the country’s protected areas— and will be administered by the Colombian National Park Service.  

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This 3.7-million-acre expansion makes Chiribiquete one of the largest national parks in South America, protecting a total of 10.5 million acres of Amazonian habitat. By way of comparison, the acclaimed Yellowstone National Park in the United States is 2.2 million acres.  

The incredibly scenic and dramatic landscape of Chiribiquete is home to a richness of tropical plants and wildlife. 

“Colombia holds many of the highest biodiversity records of any country on Earth. With the expansion of Chiribiquete, Colombia has shown that it has a conservation commitment that matches its biodiversity value,” said Andes Amazon Fund Executive Director Dr. Adrian Forsyth. 

Chiribiquete is also an important cultural site for indigenous peoples, as one of the largest
assemblages of cave paintings
in South America can be found within the Park. This indicates the presence of humans as early as 450 A.D. and many believe that uncontacted peoples still reside in the area. 

“The expansion of Chiribiquete creates a mega-park of global significance that should make all Colombians proud and should be appreciated by conservationists around the world,” said Chairman of the Bobolink Foundation, Wendy Paulson.

Download the full press release. 

Colombia Expands Chiribiquete to Become One of the Largest National Parks in South America

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The Andes Amazon Fund congratulates the Government of Colombia for expanding Chiribiquete National Park by 3.7 million acres. Now one of the largest national parks in South America, it protects 10.5 million acres of Amazonian rainforest in southern Colombia. 

“In a continent renowned for its spectacular landscapes, Chiribiquete stands out as one of the most dramatic places in the world,” said Andes Amazon Fund Program Director Enrique Ortiz. 

Largely unexplored, Chiribiquete’s landscape appears almost otherworldly with massive tepuys—table-top mountains—and domes protruding from dense rainforest. These rock formations are estimated to be 2 billion years old. Aside from their geological significance, the tepuys are thought to have been sacred religious sites for indigenous peoples. 

One of the largest assemblages of cave paintings in South America can be found within the park, indicating the presence of humans as early as 450 A.D. More than 20,000 paintings have been discovered, depicting animals, plants, and scenes of ancient daily life. As of today, the park is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the cultural value of its art. 

The park is also a haven for biodiversity, hosting a record number of tropical plant and animal species. One of the highest rates of plant diversity in the northern Amazon can be found within the park’s lowland rainforest, while its tepuys contain plant species endemic to the savannas of the Guianas. 

“Colombia holds many of the highest biodiversity records of any country on Earth. With the expansion of Chiribiquete, Colombia has shown that it has a conservation commitment that matches its biodiversity value,” said Andes Amazon Fund Executive Director Dr. Adrian Forsyth. 

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The rivers found within the park serve as an important spawning ground for fish that later return to the Caquetá River. Many communities that live nearby depend on these fish stocks for their main source of protein. As a result, the protection of the park’s rivers will help ensure the food security of local people. 

“Thanks to the visionary leadership of local and national leaders, Colombia is now the proud home of one of the largest national parks in South America,” said Hansjörg Wyss, who established the Wyss Foundation in 1998 and is a supporter of Andes Amazon Fund. “Colombia’s decision to conserve this wild landscape as a public resource – protected for all time – is a shining example to the world in the race to save our planet’s remaining natural areas.”

The Wyss Foundation has contributed and committed more than $1 million through Andes Amazon Fund to local efforts to expand the park and support its initial management.

During his presidency, President Santos has added a total of 7.3 million acres to the park, expanding it for the first time in 2013. Under his leadership, Colombia has risen as a conservation leader in the Western Hemisphere.  

“This expansion is particularly critical now, as deforestation pressure is mounting in the areas to the north and west of Chiribiquete. Providing this extra level of protection to the intact wilderness around the core of the park will prevent its destruction as the forest is rapidly cleared by land grabbers,” said Andes Amazon Fund Project Director Megan MacDowell.

The Andes Amazon Fund applauds President Santos, Minister of Environment Luis Gilberto Murillo, Director of National Parks Julia Miranda, Fundación para la Conservación y el Desarrollo Sostenible (FCDS), and others for their work towards this outstanding achievement. 

The Andes Amazon Fund is pleased to recognize the support and collaboration of the Wyss Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the Bobolink Foundation in the effort to expand and consolidate conservation in the Chiribiquete region.

Download the full press release.


Vista Alegre Omia Regional Conservation Area: An Environmental Achievement for Amazonas

The Andes Amazon Fund is pleased to announce the creation of Vista Alegre Omia Regional Conservation Area in Peru. Established on June 16, 2018, Vista Alegre Omia and Bosques Tropicales Estacionalmente Secos del Marañón are the first Regional Conservation Areas in the region of Amazonas

The creation of Vista Alegre Omia was the result of the hard work of local communities, the Amazonas Regional Government, the Peruvian Protected Area Service (SERNANP), the Ministry of the Environment (MINAM), and the Asociación Peruana para la Conservación de la Naturaleza (APECO) with the financial support of Andes Amazon Fund.   

“Pristine forest in the mountains of the tropical Andes is increasingly rare. This habitat is one of the most important in the world for conserving rich flora and fauna and for protecting a vital watershed of the Amazon headwaters,” said Andes Amazon Fund Executive Director Dr. Adrian Forsyth. 

Protecting 120,944 acres (48,945 hectares) of low montane forest, this area will help safeguard one of Peru’s most fragile ecosystems. With over 800 species of flora and fauna, it contains exceptional biodiversity such as spectacled bears, yellow-tailed woolly monkeys, and the long-whiskered owlet— a tiny owl that can only be found in northern Peru. Many of these species are listed as critically endangered or threatened by the IUCN, which makes their protection highly important. 

By creating Vista Alegre Omia, the Regional Government has also safeguarded a critical source of water for local communities— the Salas, Tonchimillo, and Huamanpata river basins. The forests of Vista Alegre Omia work much like a sponge by gathering rainwater that then flows into these rivers. This ecosystem service helps maintain river water levels, preventing droughts that could severely affect the livelihoods of local people. 

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The area is expected to become a thriving tourist destination due to its breathtaking scenery and historical significance. Within the Regional Conservation Area, visitors can see part of the Inca Trail that once connected the legendary empire to a network of roads spanning 24,000 miles across South America. 

“By conserving Vista Alegre Omia, the Amazonas region is making a definitive step to ensure a sustainable future. Tourism and other economic activities deriving from the protection of this magnificent forest will benefit the peoples of Amazonas and safeguard its unique biodiversity, which the world admires,” said Andes Amazon Fund Program Director Enrique Ortiz. 

The Andes Amazon Fund congratulates President Martín Vizcarra, Minister of the Environment Fabiola Muñoz, the Regional Government of Amazonas, SERNANP, APECO, and the people of Peru for this environmental achievement.

Download the press release here. 


Amazonas Protects Biodiversity Hotspot by Creating Bosques Secos del Marañón Regional Conservation Area

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The Andes Amazon Fund celebrates the creation of Bosques Tropicales Estacionalmente Secos del Marañón Regional Conservation Area in Peru. Bosques Secos del Marañón along with Vista Alegre Omia are the first Regional Conservation Areas in the region of Amazonas, an important area where the eastern Andes meet the Amazon lowlands.  

The creation of Bosques Secos del Marañón was made possible by local communities, the Amazonas Regional Government, the Peruvian Protected Area Service (SERNANP), the Ministry of the Environment (MINAM), Andes Amazon Fund grantees Naturaleza y Cultura Internacional (NCI) and Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental (SPDA), and others. 

Spanning between the provinces of Chachapoyas and Luya, the area protects 34,420 acres (13,929 hectares) of dry forest along the Marañón River. The spectacular and rugged canyon that the Marañón carves through the Andes has a unique microclimate. As a result, a third of the vegetation within these dry forests cannot be found anywhere else in the world.  The level of endemism that exists in Bosques Secos del Marañón has been compared to the Galapagos Islands. Named an “Area of Endemism” or “Endemic Bird Area” by international ornithologists, Bosques Secos del Marañón is home to 21 endemic species of native birds, including spectacular hummingbirds such as the endangered purple-backed sunbeam (Aglaeactis aliciae) and grey-bellied comet (Taphrolesbia griseiventris). 

“Peru is doing a great job of creating protected areas that will help conserve its unique biodiversity. The Bosques Secos del Marañón Regional Conservation Area harbors species found nowhere else. Its formal protection is a necessary and important step in building one of the greatest protected area systems in the world,” said Andes Amazon Fund Executive Director Dr. Adrian Forsyth. 

Bosques Secos del Marañón Regional Conservation Area also has a large potential for tourism. Approximately 68% of tourists in Peru list “nature” and “adventure” as their top reasons for visiting the country. The new Regional Conservation Area falls perfectly within these two categories, as tourists can raft, birdwatch, camp, and enjoy number of outdoor activities. Local communities will benefit directly from the increase of visitors, as tourism will help create jobs and provide families with additional economic opportunities. A recent study conducted by Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) found that protected area tourism in Peru generated $720 million in 2017 alone. 

“This is a major step forward. Bosques Secos del Marañón Regional Conservation Area safeguards an important ecoregion that has not been protected in the past, filling in a missing gap in the representation of Peru’s biodiversity. This new protected area also complements and enriches the North Tourism Circuit, a fantastic route for those who are interested in nature and history,” said Andes Amazon Fund Program Director Enrique Ortiz.   

The Andes Amazon Fund congratulates President Martín Vizcarra, Minister of the Environment Fabiola Muñoz, the Regional Government of Amazonas, SERNANP, NCI, and the people of Peru for this environmental achievement. 
 

Download the press release here. 


New Partnership Will Contribute $1 Million to the Implementation of Yaguas National Park in Peru

The Andes Amazon Fund is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Bobolink Foundation that will support the effective management of protected areas in the Andes-Amazon region of South America.

The first effort in this collaboration will be to support the implementation of the newly created Yaguas National Park in Loreto, Peru with a donation to Peru’s National Protected Area Service, SERNANP, totaling $1 million.

This support will contribute to Peru’s Natural Legacy (Patrimonio del Perú)— a new financing initiative that aims to strengthen the management of the country’s protected area system— and will be administered by the Peruvian National Protected Areas Trust, PROFONANPE. 

The donation will support social development projects that will benefit the indigenous communities around Yaguas as well as the direct protection and management of the Park by SERNANP and community patrols.

“The creation of Yaguas National Park will ensure that surrounding indigenous communities have healthy and biodiverse forest, river, and wetland ecosystems. This is good for local people, for Peru, and for the planet,” said Chairman of the Bobolink Foundation, Wendy Paulson.

Spanning over 2 million acres, Yaguas protects a pristine watershed with rich rainforest fauna as well as intact rivers and wetlands. Fish diversity appears to be among the highest recorded for any comparable watershed in the world with over 550 species. These fish stocks are vital for the food security of local communities, as 77% of the rural population in Loreto consumes fish daily.

“National parks can safeguard the ecosystems that generate fish, wildlife and other resources for surrounding communities. We hope our financial support will be used to create management programs that directly benefit indigenous communities. Everyone loses when ecosystems are destroyed. Everyone wins when they remain productive,” said Andes Amazon Fund Executive Director Dr. Adrian Forsyth.

Download the full press release here. 

Photo credits: Alvaro del Campo— Field Museum. 

 

Protected Area Tourism in Peru Generated US$ 720 million in 2017

A tourist at the Nor Yauyos-Cochas Landscape Reserve. Photo credit: Annie Escobedo

A tourist at the Nor Yauyos-Cochas Landscape Reserve. Photo credit: Annie Escobedo

March 5, 2018— Andes Amazon Fund grantee, Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF), presented a new study on the economic impact of tourism within Peru's protected area system on Monday. 

The report's most important finding is that tourism generated, in a conservative analysis, $720 million (S/. 2340 million) in 2017. This represents an amount 40 times more than the State invests in the maintenance of protected areas. That is to say, as CSF’s Northern Andes-Amazon Director Gabriel Quijandría stated, "Tourism in protected areas is not an expense but an investment.”

The study also found that this type of tourism generated $165 million (S/. 536 million) in household income and wages at the local level, as well as more than 36,000 jobs in localities and surrounding cities.

Tres Cañones Regional Conservation Area in Cusco. Photo credit: Walter Wust.

Tres Cañones Regional Conservation Area in Cusco. Photo credit: Walter Wust.

Peru's protected areas are attractive for tourists

One of the most important questions pursued by this CSF study is whether or not an area's status as a national protected area made it more attractive to tourists in Peru. The answer was overwhelmingly affirmative.

National protected area status increases the number of tourists in an area between 33% and 100%.

For example, the report added the proposed Regional Conservation Area of Ausangate to its field of study.  Last year, Ausangate saw only $8.9 million (S/. 29 million) in economic impact, which in the light of this study, could be significantly increased with protected area designation.

Recommendations for the State

Based on these findings, CSF proposes three actions for the State to take advantage of the economic impact that tourism can generate in Peru's protected areas: 1) finance the effective management of the protected areas, 2) strengthen the participation of local and national businesses outside of the protected areas, and 3) expand the National System of Protected Areas to take advantage of the economic opportunities it provides to the public and private sectors.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that this study took into account more than 1,000 surveys of tourists, local businesses and their workers in five Natural Protected Areas (the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, the Nor Yauyos Cochas Landscape Reserve and the Tambopata National Reserves, Pacas and Pacaya Samiria, as well as the proposed Regional Conservation Area of Ausangate).

Deputy Minister of Strategic Development of Natural Resources of the Ministry of Environment, and CSF course graduate Fernando León speaking at the event in Lima on March 5th. Photo credit: Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental (SPDA)

Deputy Minister of Strategic Development of Natural Resources of the Ministry of Environment, and CSF course graduate Fernando León speaking at the event in Lima on March 5th. Photo credit: Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental (SPDA)

Fernando León, Deputy Minister of Strategic Development of Natural Resources of the Ministry of Environment, who attended the presentation, said that "it is necessary for the national tourists to visit the protected areas more.” He proposed that Peru should "bring the protected areas to schools," as a method for people to start appreciating these areas as children.

In turn, the Vice Minister of Tourism, Rogers Valencia, stressed the importance of basic infrastructure for all tourist destinations. "You can not think of building tourist destinations in places where basic infrastructure is lacking, such as connectivity," he said. "Tourism must be an instrument that allows us to look to the future," he concluded during his presentation.

The Andes Amazon Fund proudly supported the development of this study. We thank and congratulate all of those who made this report and presentation a huge success: Conservation Strategy Fund, the Peruvian Ministry of Environment, the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism, Sociedad Peruano de Derecho Ambiental (SPDA), the Peruvian Protected Area Service (SERNANP), and other partners.  

"The study is innovative in its approach. Its results, although highly conservative, show that protected areas not only help safeguard Peru's natural heritage, but also benefit people and the economy at a very significant scale. Creating protected areas of all types and implementing them properly is good business for everyone and complements Peru's growing tourism potential," concluded Andes Amazon Fund Program Director Enrique Ortiz. 

Article written by Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental (SPDA) and adapted by Andes Amazon Fund. 

More information:

CSF's full report in Spanish 

CSF's policy brief in Spanish 

Andina (English): "Peru: Tourism in Natural Protected Areas generated US$720 million in 2017" 

Andina (Spanish):  "Turismo en Áreas Naturales Protegidas generó S/ 2,340 millones en 2017

El Comercio: "Turismo en áreas protegidas generó S/2.340 millones en 2017" 

Mongabay Latam: "Todos ganan, el Perú Gana"

Mongabay Latam: "Perú: más de 2300 millones de soles generó el turismo en áreas naturales protegidas en el 2017"

 

Ecuador Forms Strategic Link Between Protected Areas by Creating Río Negro–Sopladora National Park

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The Andes Amazon Fund congratulates the government of Ecuador for the creation of Río Negro–Sopladora National Park. This area protects 75,654 acres (306 square kilometers) of diverse and fragile ecosystems, including montane forests, páramos, mountain streams, and rivers. The new park forms a strategic link between Sangay and Podocarpus National Parks, connecting a chain of mountainous protected areas spread along Ecuador’s southeastern Andes to the upper Amazon rainforest.

Río Negro–Sopladora National Park has a large altitudinal range of 2,624 to 12,795 feet (800 and 3,900 meters), allowing for a variety of precipitation levels, types of soil, and temperatures. A report produced by Andes Amazon Fund grantee, Naturaleza y Cultura Internacional (NCI) noted that, “the topography and weather conditions have preserved its natural ecosystems in a remarkably pristine state, still almost entirely intact and free from human intervention." This has allowed flora and fauna to flourish in the area.

Many discoveries have been made in what is now Río Negro–Sopladora National Park. Working with Ecuadorian scientists, NCI carried out a Rapid Biological Assessment that registered high levels of endemism and numerous species new to science. The area is a stronghold for threatened wildlife such as spectacled bear and mountain tapir.

Andes Amazon Fund Executive Director Dr. Adrian Forsyth explains, “The significance of this area is magnified by rapid climate change. Río Negro–Sopladora National Park is a climate change escape valve. Its mountainous slopes and its connection with national parks to the north and south allow plants and animals to relocate as the climate changes. Without this combination of protected habitat, connectivity and the possibility of elevational movement, climate change will drive species to extinction.” 

Support for the technical studies of the park area would not have been possible without the generous financial contribution of the Wyss Foundation and others.“Governments alone cannot bear the burden of saving our planet from the ravages of climate change. Hansjörg Wyss is just one of a handful of successful business leaders who has the wisdom to use philanthropy to help protect vast landscapes rich in biodiversity, that store huge amounts of forest carbon, generate clean water, and are buffered by complex mountainous topography. It’s hard to imagine anything more important for the long-term future of our planet and the human species,” says Dr. Adrian Forsyth. 

The Andes Amazon Fund congratulates Minister of Environment Tarsicio Granizo and the people of Ecuador for this environmental achievement and their continuing contribution to the protection of biodiversity. 

Download the press release, here.

Photo credits:  Fabián Rodas, Paul Tito, Trotsky Riera, and Wilson Romero.

Peru Protects More than Two Million Acres of Pristine Rainforest by Creating Yaguas National Park

The Andes Amazon Fund celebrates the creation of Yaguas National Park, established today by the Peruvian government. Located in the northern region of Loreto, Peru’s newest national park will safeguard 2,147,166 acres of rainforest and a vast river system with one of the richest fish faunas in the world

The park’s creation is a key step in conserving the country’s biodiversity and protecting the ancestral lands of indigenous peoples. The Andes Amazon Fund will donate $1 million  towards the goal of implementing the park and to providing social development opportunities for indigenous communities near Yaguas National Park.

Over the past 20 years, this area has faced increasing pressures from illegal logging and mining interests. During the categorization process, many indigenous communities expressed their concern over these threats and pledged their support for the national park. “The mountain of our ancestors has to be a national park because it is a sacred place,” explained Eriberto Jiménez Hilorio, President of the Indigenous Federation of the Border Communities of Putumayo. 

Indigenous groups including the Yaguas, Bora, Murui-Muinani-Huitoto, Ocaina, Kiwcha, and Tikuna reside near Yaguas. “The benefits are for everyone, for the future of everyone, for the country, and for the world,” remarked Liz Chicaje Churay, President of the Federation of the Native Communities of Ampiyacu.

The communities in support of the park recognize the area’s value as a breeding ground for many important species. Pioneering scientific work by the Field Museum of Chicago and Peruvian scientific counterparts revealed that the diverse Yaguas watershed includes a large number of unique aquatic environments that contain more types of freshwater fish than anywhere else in the country– approximately 550 species. 

Communities that live downstream depend on these fish stocks as a source of protein, as 77% of the rural population in Loreto consumes fish daily. Yaguas National Park also protects important threatened wildlife such as giant otters, woolly monkeys, Amazon River dolphins, and manatees.  

“A national park of this size and significance can only be created with a long-term, multi-faceted collaboration between civil society organizations, local peoples, and government agencies, each fulfilling a key role,” said Andes Amazon Fund Executive Director Dr. Adrian Forsyth. 

The Andes Amazon Fund supported the work of three organizations in the alliance known as Vamos Yaguas Parque Nacional that were instrumental in establishing Yaguas National Park: Instituto del Bien Común (IBC), Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental (SPDA), and the Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF). These organizations worked alongside the Peruvian Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Culture, the Peruvian Protected Area Service (SERNANP), and the many communities in favor of the park and in coordination with the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Field Museum, Frankfurt Zoological Society, and others. 

“As a Peruvian conservationist, I am proud that with the creation of Yaguas National Park, Peru continues on the path of creating one of the most amazing park systems in the world. This park is as large as Yellowstone National Park and probably 10 times as diverse,” said Andes Amazon Fund Program Director Enrique Ortiz. 

The Andes Amazon Fund congratulates the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Culture, SERNANP, and the people of Peru for this landmark achievement.

Download the press release, here.

Photos: Frankfurt Zoological Society, IBC, Field Museum, Flor Ruiz, and Margarita Medina Muller. 

Bolivia Creates Two New Protected Areas

Camera trap photos from the new protected areas.  

Camera trap photos from the new protected areas.  

Andes Amazon Fund is pleased to announce the creation of two new protected areas in Bolivia:  Abuná Biological Station (Estación Biológica Abuná) and Tahuamanu Biological Station (Estación Biológica Tahuamanu). Both have been designated as Regional Conservation Areas, referred to as Áreas de Patrimonio Natural in Bolivia

Abuná and Tahuamanu Biological Stations amount to approximately 16,000 acres (6,500 hectares) total and are located in Pando. This region lies in the northern part of the country, neighboring both Peru and Brazil. Pando is known for its dense tropical rainforest and warm climate, which makes it a biodiversity hotspot. 

Goeldi's marmoset

Goeldi's marmoset

Tahuamanu houses 15 out of the 23 species of primates recorded in Bolivia. One of these is the callimico goeldii, or Goeldi's marmoset. This species can be found in the upper Amazon basin in Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, and Brazil. However, Goeldi's marmoset populations remain relatively low due to their specific habitat preference of mixed bamboo forests. Classified as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), their populations are expected to decline by 30% in the next 18 years due to habitat loss. As a result, Goeldi's marmosets rely on the creation of protected areas, like Tahuamanu, for their species' survival . 

Figure 1: Snapshot of Biodiversity at Tahuamanu Biological Station   

Likewise, Abuná Biological Station hosts a variety of flora and fauna. The number of known species in this area continues to grow. Scientists recently discovered four new species of orchids and two species of fish, which had never been recorded in Bolivia. Additionally, two species of birds were documented that were new to the region of Pando. However, this area's ecological importance extends beyond scientific research. Abuná Biological Station is also the home of over 70 threatened and endangered species, including the Bolivian river dolphin (Inia boliviensis). Like the Goeldi's marmoset, these species depend on their habitats remaining intact.    

Therefore, the creation of Tahuamanu and Abuná is a victory for Bolivia's biodiversity as well as the government entities and local communities involved in the process. AAF supported the work of  la Asociación Boliviana para la Investigación y Conservación de Ecosistemas Andino Amazónicos, who helped make this possible.