Andes Amazon Fund celebrates the creation of the Communal Alto Tamaya – Abujao (CATA) Regional Conservation Area in Ucayali, Peru. Established on July 22, the new area protects 370,685 acres (150,011 ha) of tropical rainforest and bamboo forests, including a range of isolated mountains to the south of Sierra del Divisor National Park.
The Communal Alto Tamaya – Abujao Regional Conservation Area, or CATA for short, is an important new link in a binational corridor of protected areas and Indigenous lands that extends along the border with Brazil.
Flora and Fauna
The biological value of this newly protected area lies in its mosaic of ecosystems. It notably contains isolated mountain ranges with elevations spanning from 2,600 – 4,900 feet and a rolling topography that has formed a complex river system that feeds into the Tamaya and Abujao Rivers, both ending at the mighty Ucayali. Biological assessments in and around the area show great species diversity, including over 420 species of birds. An extensive bamboo forest occupies part of the protected area, and while this type of ecosystem is not as rich in species numbers, it is unique and an important carbon sink. CATA protects several endangered and iconic species, such as bush dogs (Speothos venaticus), goeldi’s monkeys (Callimico goeldii),jaguars, pumas, and harpy eagles. Furthermore, the headwaters of the Abujao and Tamaya Rivers within this protected area are crucial for the reproduction of tropical freshwater fish, which local populations rely on for sustenance. This forest also protects stands of mahogany, tropical cedar, Dipteryx and other endangered and important tree species.
Further Protection of Indigenous People
This area not only extends a major biodiversity corridor but also provides a forested buffer to Indigenous peoples’ territories, and nearby reserves for those living in voluntary isolation or initial contact. These areas form a continuous belt of intact forests that will help safeguard these populations, some living a nomadic lifestyle. CATA is also surrounded by Indigenous and mestizo communities that have occupied the area for generations and communicate in Spanish as well as in the Ashéninka and Shipibo-Konibo Indigenous languages. More than 18,000 families are expected to benefit from the area’s designation.
The creation of the Communal Alto Tamaya – Abujao (CATA) Regional Conservation Area was a result of hard work and collaboration between the Regional Government of Ucayali and AAF grantee Nature and Culture International, with additional support from the inhabitants of the Coronel Portillo municipality, where the new protected area is located.