Andes Amazon Fund is happy to announce the establishment of the Pauya Cushabatay Conservation Concession in Loreto, Peru on November 26, 2021. The area protects a total of 200,460 acres (81,123 ha) of montane and lowland floodplain forests, as well as forests rich in palm species. More importantly, Pauya Cushabatay is located in the buffer zone of the Cordillera Azul National Park, expanding protection to the Park’s narrowest sector, and including forest types unrepresented in the park, thus adding to its already rich biodiversity.
Conservation concessions are areas of government land that are managed for the purpose of forest protection due to their high biodiversity value. Their administration is assigned to civil society organizations or associations made up of surrounding communities. In the case of Pauya Cushabatay, the concession has been granted to the Peruvian NGO Centro de Conservación, Investigación y Manejo de Áreas Naturales – Cordillera Azul (CIMA) which has also been helping to manage the National Park since 2008, earning it a spot on the IUCN’s Green List of effectively-managed protected areas. Besides protecting an important and strategically located forest, Pauya Cushabatay will be used to research forest growth, forest regeneration and the impacts of climate change. Furthermore, it will serve as a research site to promote the sustainable management of natural resources.
The Cushabatay River basin that runs through the concession is a provider of clean water and food resources for neighboring populations, who rely on the variety of fish for their own consumption and local commerce. It is also a breeding ground for migratory fish species, and some unique to the Cushabatay river, like the catfish Hypostomus fonchii. Additionally, the area is home to the vulnerable yellow-spotted river turtle (Podocnemis unifilis), known in Peru as “taricaya.” Efforts to bring back its population in the last 10 years have proven to be successful with a documented population increase.
Other notable species include the Peruvian spider monkey (Ateles chamek), the neotropical otter (Lontra longicaudis), the rare water opossum (Chironectes minimus), among others. Pauya Cushabatay also has abundant bird species and is home to the painted manakin (Machaeropterus eckelberry), recently discovered in 2017.
The creation of the Pauya Cushabatay Conservation Concession was carried out by AAF grantee CIMA, in coordination with the Regional Government of Loreto. We congratulate our partners and their collaborators for their efforts to conserve a biodiversity rich area that provides vital environmental services to all who depend on its healthy ecosystem.