Dear Friend of the Amazon,
As the new Executive Director of the Amazon Conservation Association, I’m thrilled for the chance to work with all of our supporters to help the world’s lungs, the Andes–Amazon, breathe
a little easier. Before this, I spent 4 years as Director of Programs at ACA, overseeing our Manu–Tambopata Corridor (MAT) project as well as managing other large-scale grants and strategies.
This year is an anniversary one for our organization: it’s the 15th for both ACA and our sister organization in Peru, Conservación Amazónica–ACCA, and the 10th for our main partner organization in Bolivia, ACEAA. It’s a good opportunity to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re going. I am so excited to work with our talented team as we take ACA into its next 15 years, and continue doing my part to further its mission to conserve Amazonian biodiversity.
Working in conservation in the Andes-Amazon was a natural fit for me. I grew up in a family that lived in and traveled in Latin America, and as a kid immediately fell in love with the wonder of tropical forests. I’ve followed this passion by working for environmental organizations in Colombia and the U.S. I was drawn to ACA because of its focus on putting resources in the field, developing innovative solutions to conservation challenges, and creating science-based programs.
All of this clicked for me when I was in the field with the MAT Corridor, talking to community members participating in the project. They shared with me how legal support and planting trees for agroforestry was helping them protect their land from illegal invasion by gold miners. It was powerful to see firsthand how our work was helping forests and communities.
As you know, it takes all of us to protect the Andes–Amazon. I want to thank you for sharing ACA’s message on social media, sending in donations, getting your boots muddy visiting our three biological stations, and all of the other ways you have supported ACA over the past 15 years—your involvement creates greater success for our efforts. You are an integral part of our global network (2.2 million acres conserved and counting), so I hope you will continue to stay connected to us. I would love to hear about what’s important to you about our work.
I am eager to work with you in the months and years ahead. Thank you in advance, and here’s to ACA’s next 15 years!
Join ACA, the National Museum of the American Indian, the Embassy of Peru, and others as we celebrate Peru this summer! From July 29 to August 3, 2014, the Smithsonian museum will host Kaypi Perú, a free festival featuring dance performances, children’s activities, photo exhibits, talks, and more. Kaypi Perú means “This is Peru” in Quechua, and celebrates the rich diversity of Peruvian life and culture.
As part of this year’s festival, ACA is honored to present a 30-image photo exhibit and a series of related talks. Entitled “From the Andes to the Amazon: Conservation, Culture, and Diversity,” the exhibit features the work of award-winning photographer Gabby Salazar, who spent 10 months documenting ACA’s Manu-Tambopata Conservation Corridor from 2010 to 2011. These photos reveal the intimate connection of Peruvian life to the natural world. Each one is image that captures the livelihoods ACA supports, the landscapes and wildlife we help protect, the varied ecological threats we monitor, and many of our local partners in conservation.
Peruvian Brazil nut harvester in Madre de Dios (photo: Gabby Salazar).
To complement the exhibit, Gabby and two other speakers—Enrique Ortiz, ACA co-founder and board vice president, and Hannah Stutzman, ACA’s Director of Programs—will give presentations about ACA and our work in Peru. See below for the times and dates of their talks:
July 30, 1:30-2:30: Enrique Ortiz
August 1, 12:30-1:30: Enrique Ortiz
August 2, 1:30-2:30: Gabby Salazar
August 3, 12:30-1:30: Hannah Stutzman
ACA will also have an informational table near our exhibit where you can learn more about us (including how to visit our Peruvian biological stations!) and ask us questions. With something for everyone, we hope to see you at Kaypi Perú!
Dr. Matt Finer, ACA’s Research Specialist, is the lead author of a paper published on April 17th, 2014 in Scientific Reports, an open access, peer-reviewed journal affiliated with Nature. Focused on logging in Peru, the paper analyzes 609 logging concessions with data obtained from OSINFOR, the supervisory body in Peru that oversees post-logging inspections. Each logging concession represents a 40-year lease to officially manage public land for timber use.
Finer, along with colleagues representing the Center for International Environmental Law and the Instituto de Pequisas Ecologicas, found that 68% of officially inspected concessions are either cancelled or under investigation for major violations of Peru’s forestry laws. Reasons for cancelling logging concessions include timber extraction outside of concession limits, extraction or transport of illegal timber, non-compliance with management plans, and submission of false information; often, as this paper describes, OSINFOR discovered no stumps where legally sanctioned logging was to have taken place.
Logs passing through an Iquitos port. According to the new study, many of these giant logs may have come from unauthorized areas, including protected areas and indigenous territories, outside of legal concessions (photo: Matt Finer).
“Our new study presents evidence that the illegal logging concession system is in reality enabling an illegal logging crisis in the Peruvian Amazon despite important reform efforts,” says Finer. “As a consequence, logging is not contained to concessions, and instead it threatens all forested lands, including protected areas and indigenous territories.” But another key finding is that OSINFOR’s regulatory work is critically important to improving the concession system. Finer adds, “OSINFOR deserves additional support, not less, as the office is increasingly criticized by loggers whose concessions have been canceled.”Read more.
On October 23, with help from panpipes, ceviche, and breathtaking photos taken within the Manu biosphere reserve, a taste of Manu National Park made its way north to Washington, DC. That evening, ACA and the Embassy of Peru hosted a reception celebrating 40 years of the Peruvian national park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Over fifty conservationists, scientists, and diplomats gathered at the ambassador’s home to mingle, sip pisco sours, and toast to the wonders of Manu.
ACA board member Bruce Babbitt and Ambassador Harold Forsyth headlined the event. In brief remarks, each commented on the threats facing Manu’s incredible biodiversity, the strength of diplomatic ties between the United States and Peru, and the coincidence of two Forsyths—the Peruvian ambassador and Dr. Adrian Forsyth, president and co-founder of ACA—working together to support the greater Manu landscape.
From left: ACA Executive Director Jeff Woodman, ACCA Executive Director Daniela Pogliani, Peruvian Ambassador Harold Forsyth, and ACA Board Member Bruce Babbitt (event photos by Mike B Photography).
Babbitt used the opportunity to draw attention to the sweep of habitats Manu encompasses, which range from the cloud forests of the Andes to the Amazonian rainforest. ACA has concentrated its conservation efforts on the forests that lie just outside of Manu’s borders, an area which still remains endangered by mining, fire, deforestation, and climate change. “The region hosts a spectacular array of animals and nearly a thousand species of birds, and is home to several indigenous groups living in voluntary isolation,” Babbitt said in a statement. “Manu National Park…is the most beautiful and biologically important park in the entire Amazon basin.”
ACA wishes to thank Ambassador Forsyth, Mrs. Harold Forsyth, and the entire embassy staff for their generous hospitality!
On August 2, ACA's Villa Carmen Biological Station & Reservecelebrated its third birthday!Villa Carmen rounds outACA's network of three biological stations, which are strategically positioned to span the vast array of unique ecosystems from the high Andean cloud forest to the lowland Amazon basin.
In just three years, Villa Carmen has established itself as a bustling hub for scientists and conservationists. Over 150 researchers have visited the station from institutions around the world, cataloguing more than 590 species of plants and animals, and leading 38 research projects to date, studying everything from native fish and ants, to woolly monkeys and spectacled bears. Villa Carmen has also hosted numerous field courses on biodiversity, climate change, conservation, and culture.
As of May, USAID suspended all operations in Bolivia, immediately removing support for critical conservation and sustainable livelihood work in the Amazon!
The indigenous Tacana people protect a vast tract of rainforest in the Bolivian Amazon. They rely on the sustainable harvest of wild Brazil nuts and other natural resources from their forest for income and for food, shelter, and medicine. Even in this remote region , the threat of deforestation is growing.
Amazon Conservation Association and the Tacana people of the Madre de Dios River have worked together since 2006 to protect their ancestral territory, build the communities’ capacity for forest management, and allow them to earn a living from the harvest of Brazil nuts. Today, all our progress in this area is being threatened with the withdrawl of USAID.
That is why we are reaching out to our supporters. We need to raise $86,000 to carry out the work already planned with the Tacana in the Bolivian Amazon through the end of 2013. Thankfully, a generous ACA board member has already offered a dollar-for-dollar match for all donations we receive toward this project. That means your donation will have double the impact.
Update as of July: Thanks to your support, our work in Bolivia can continue through the end of 2013! But we still need help for 2014.
Can YOU contribute today to help us ensure that this vital work with the Tacana people continues in 2014? A donation of any size will help us meet this goal. THANK YOU!
Produced by ACA board member Sarah duPont and starring ACA co-founder Enrique Ortiz, Amazon Gold is an account of the environmental destruction caused by illegal gold mining along Peru's Madre de Dios River. Narrated by Academy Award winners Sissy Spacek and Herbie Hancock, the film has had several screenings in the U.S., and was written about in the February 2012 edition of the Smithsonian Magazine. For more information about illegal mining in Madre de Dios and what you can do to help, please see our fact sheet on the issue or watch the short video above from LinkTV.
ACA is partnering with the Amazon Aid Foundation (AAF) through its AcreCare program to help protect 100,000 acres of Amazonian rainforest in the Madre de Dios department of Peru. Founded by ACA board member Sarah DuPont, AAF's mission is to bring awareness and environmental sustainability to the Amazon rainforest through multi-media educational materials while assisting partners on the ground who provide solutions to the issues.
AcreCare is an exciting, interactive way to adopt a piece of rainforest and protect it for 40 years. Please visit AcreCare's website and adopt an acre to help ACA and AAF protect the rainforest of southeastern Peru … one acre at a time!
Amazon Conservation Association (ACA) is delighted to share news of some recent successes in community-based conservation. With ACA support, three new protected areas were established in the Andes-Amazon region over the past few months! Created with community engagement and participation, these new private conservation areas (PCA), covering 46,659 acres, will contribute to the protection of one of the most biologically rich places on the planet: the tropical Andes of southeastern Peru.
The highland community of Japu created the 46,196-acre Ukumari Llaqta PCA, which ranges from Andean highlands to Amazonian foothills in the Cusco department, and ensures a refuge for those species expected to be forced to migrate upslope to escape the impacts of climate change. The Pillco Grande community also established the 406-acre Pumataki PCA in Cusco, whose rich grassland and cloud forest ecosystems share a border with the world-famous Manu National Park. ACA worked closely with the Japu and Pillco Grande communities to train and equip community park guards as well as to move the PCA designation process forward. These activities and new conservation area declarations in Cusco were made possible in part through the generous support of the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad). Watch a video about this project here.
In addition, the new 57-acre San Juan Bautista PCA, located in the buffer zone of the Tambopata National Reserve in the department of Madre de Dios, was set aside by a local family who wishes to preserve forests for their grandchildren and to carry out ecotourism, research, and education activities. With support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, ACA provided technical support, along with the legal documentation to obtain the PCA designation. This very recent addition to the National System of Protected Areas will help to guarantee conservation efforts in this brilliantly diverse region that is part of the Manu-Tambopata biological corridor.
Peru’s Andes-Amazon region’s rich biological diversity is matched only by its cultural diversity. In the case of two communities in southeastern Peru near Manu National Park, the lowland Wachiperi and the highland Q’eros, Amazon Conservation Association’s conservation programs are complemented by the work of ethnomusicologist Dr. Holly Wissler, who is partnering with the communities to preserve their cultures through music. We were pleased to invite friends and supporters in the Washington, DC area on November 14th and 15th, 2011, to two talks by Dr. Wissler, one at the ACA office and one at the National Museum of the American Indian. See a flyer about this event.
In August 2011, ACA hosted its inaugural Birdathon in celebration of the immense diversity of bird species in southeastern Peru. For ACA's Birdathon, a group of conservationist birders traveled a route from the highlands to the lowlands alongside Manu National Park for a week while counting the number of bird species they saw. Their goal was to support conservation of southeast Peru’s globally important forests and the birds dependent on them by seeking sponsors to pledge an amount per bird seen or make a donation to the event. Read more »
ACA recently collaborated with WWF’s Conservation Science Programme, WWF Peru, the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology, and the Peruvian Ministry of the Environment (MINAM) to create the first high-resolution maps of natural carbon storage in the forests around Madre de Dios, Peru. This development is exciting, as it provides us with the data necessary to explore and promote the value of standing forests.
These forests store immense amounts of carbon dioxide. Deforestation prevents the trees from performing this important service, and thus forest preservation and reforestation are being pursued as an innovative mechanism to address climate change. This strategy, commonly referred to as REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation), would provide an economic incentive for developing countries to participate in forest management and protection programs.
The maps were created using a unique combination of satellite, laser (LiDAR) and ground plot methodologies. This is considered the most accurate and efficient evaluation in history. The project’s success will allow similar surveys to be implemented in other parts of the world, helping countries to assess and understand the value of leaving their forests intact. These findings were originally published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Funding for the work was provided by the Government of Norway and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Read more (pdf) and see the article on Mongabay »
The Amazon Conservation Association (ACA), in partnership with the American Bird Conservancy and the World Land Trust, recently provided funding for the purchase of 7,576 acres (3,066 hectares) of land in southern Peru by ACA's sister organization, La Asociación para la Conservación de la Cuenca Amazónica (ACCA). Located near the Rio Pini Pini and the Rio Tono in the Manu Biosphere Reserve, the land is particularly esteemed for its bird activity, as it is home to more than 600 known species. This purchase will help to ensure the protection and prosperity of wildlife in the region.
The property, known as Villa Carmen, contains old-growth rainforest, streams, waterfalls, and a wide variety of flora and fauna. It also has an all-weather road and an airstrip, accessible by both car and plane. ACCA will oversee management of Villa Carmen, which will be used to promote sustainable agroforestry and aquaculture, host educational programs, and further incorporate local communities into conservation efforts. ACA is extremely excited about these developments, and encourages you to check back for updates on Villa Carmen’s progress!
An October 2009 newsletter from USAID features Sara Hurtado, a Brazil nut harvester in the Madre de Dios region of Peru, who has turned her three-month-per-year Brazil nut harvesting job into a year-round sustainable enterprise. Sara has been working in conjunction with the ACA’s Brazil nut program which has helped nearly 500 local families acquire Brazil nutconcessions and organic or FSC certifications since 1997, including Sara’s. By establishing a line of Brazil nut candies and desserts Sara is now able to sell her value-added products throughout the year and earn a sustainable livelihood to support her family. Read more (pdf) about Sara’s story. Or watch her on the BBC (video in Spanish).
NPR's "All Things Considered" recently ran a series about Peru's Interoceanic Highway after accompanying ACA staff on a trip starting in the high Andes and ending in the Amazon. This four-part series by Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, featuring quotes from ACA Board members Enrique Ortiz, Adrian Forsyth, and Bruce Babbitt, was aired September 14-17, 2009. Part 1 is about economic opportunity and the highway. Part 2 is about gold. Part 3 focuses on threats to conservation and Brazil nut concessions. And Part 4 is about ACA's Los Amigos Conservation Concession! Read more about the series on the NPR site.
The Amazon Conservation Association partnered with Jack Johnson to help offset the carbon emissions from his summer 2008 “Sleeping through the Static” tour. Carbon emissions from buses, trucks, planes, hotels, and other emissions by the band and tour staff were calculated and converted into a monetary equivalent. These funds were donated to ACA through Jack Johnson's charitable fund “All at Once” and will help protect over 1,000 acres of rainforest in the Los Amigos Biological Station in the Peruvian Amazon, offsetting more than 2,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year.
Offsetting carbon is one of many important ways to support ACA in protecting the rainforest and preserving its rich biodiversity. You too can support ACA by donating now.
On May 22, 2009, ACA’s Peruvian sister organization, ACCA (Asociación para la Conservación de la Cuenca Amazónica), was officially recognized by the Professional Association of Peruvian Biologists (Cusco, Apurimac and Madre de Dios chapters) for excellence in sustainable resource management. The award ceremony was held at the Cusco Town Hall.
Previous to this, on June 5, 2008, ACCA also won an award for environmental management from the regional government of Cusco for its work supporting the Haramba Queros Wachiperi indigenous community in establishing an ecological reserve. The award also recognized ACCA’s protection of 360,000 acres of land at the Los Amigos Conservation Concession and the 618,000-plus acres of Brazil nut conservation concessions ACCA has helped to establish, benefiting 420 families.
Community guards of the new Pumataki Private Conservation Area in Cusco, Peru. Photo: Karen Eckhardt
How many birds were counted during the first annual birdathon?? Find out. Long-tailed Sylph (Aglaiocercus kingi) at Wayqecha. Photo: Francisco Llacma
ACA supported the development of a new high-resolution airborne and satellite mapping approach that provides detailed information on carbon stocks in the Amazon. Source: Carnegie Airborne Observatory, Carnegie Institution for Science
Former ACA Executive Director César Morán and Ecosystem Services Coordinator Augusto Mulanovich, second and third from right with members of the Peruvian congress and the Ministry of Environment. Photo: Augusto Mulanovich
View of Villa Carmen, the new 7,400 acre property purchased by ACA for conservation. Photo: Megan MacDowell
Brazil nut harvester and entrepreneur Sarah Hurtado. Photo: Miguel Moran
Participants registering for REDD Workshop. Photo: Miguel Moran
Jack Johnson at Pavilhao Atlantico, Lisbon, Portugal. Photo: K. Johnson
ACCA Cusco staff receiving award on May 22, 2009. Photo: ACCA
Recognition plaque awarded to ACCA by the Regional Government of Cusco. Photo: Miguel Moran
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