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Conservation Concessions

ACA pioneers innovative conservation tools, creating models that others can follow. This section explains how we use conservation concessions and conservation corridors to protect forest cover and biodiversity across the southwestern Amazon.

Los Amigos Conservation Concession

In 2001, ACA and Conservación Amazónica-ACCA established the world’s first private conservation concession. The Los Amigos Conservation Concession protects the watershed of the Los Amigos River and 360,000 acres of old-growth Amazonian forest in the department of Madre de Dios in southeastern Peru. Today, the conservation concession is among the Amazon’s most active centers for research, natural resource management training, and environmental education.

Los Amigos is home to a remarkable diversity of plant and animal species. Bordering world-famous Manu National Park to the east, the Los Amigos watershed forms part of a 20 million-acre block of protected wilderness in southeastern Peru. The landscape is a mosaic of terrestrial and aquatic habitats, including palm swamps, bamboo thickets, oxbow lakes, and various types of flooded and non-flooded forests. Wildlife is abundant, including 12 globally threatened species and abundant Amazonian fauna including giant otters, harpy eagles, spider monkeys and jaguars. The area contains 13 species of primates. By way of comparison, all of Costa Rica holds only four.

Project Goals

Our ongoing management of the Los Amigos Conservation Concession will:

  • Ensure lasting protection of the Los Amigos watershed
  • Develop a world-class research center and a model private protected area
  • Train a new generation of Latin American ecologists and natural resource managers
  • Create sustainable economic and social benefits for local populations
  • Develop new watershed conservation models for Amazonian eco-development
  • Develop new ecosystem management understanding and practices
  • Establish new models for sustainable long-term forest conservation by employing innovative conservation finance tools, such as carbon and biodiversity offset markets
  • Monitor and compare pristine ecosystems with those disrupted by logging, mining and agriculture
  • Empower a new generation of Peruvians who will act as the long-term guardians, mentors, and conservation planners in the region

Find information on the Los Amigos Biological Station (CICRA) »

ICFC logoACA thanks the International Conservation Fund of Canada (ICFC) for their generous support to create and grow an endowment fund that provides funding for the management of Los Amigos Conservation Concession.


Haramba Queros Wachiperi Conservation Concession

Haramba Queros is an indigenous community of the Wachiperi ethnicity living in the lush rainforests in the foothills of the Andes mountains, located 4 hours east of Cusco, Peru. They depend on their forest homeland for food, shelter, traditional clothing, and natural medicines. In July 2008, the Haramba Queros Wachiperi Ecological Reserve became the world’s first conservation concession managed by an indigenous group. The Haramba Queros Wachiperi Conservation Concession protects 17,238 acres of highly diverse montane rainforest on the eastern slopes of Peru’s southern Andes. It provides a buffer against the impacts of climate change, secures the Queros’ water supply and source of medicinal plants, sustains their access to forest products, and helps the community maintain its cultural traditions. These forests also serve as an ecological buffer zone for the world-renowned Manu National Park.

ACA and its Peruvian sister organization, Conservación Amazónica-ACCA, provided technical support to the Wachiperi throughout the process of applying for the concession, creating its management plan, and seeking approval from the Peruvian forest service. ACA continues to support the Queros community in their management and monitoring of the concession, as well as in the development of sustainable livelihoods activities, such as ecotourism and handicraft production, which help fund the management of the concession. (Learn more about ecotourism in the region here.)


Conservation Concessions in Peru

Conservation concessions, an innovation written into Peruvian forestry legislation in 2000, provide a unique opportunity for the conservation of large state-owned lands that would otherwise be unmanaged. A conservation concession is a long-term contractual partnership between the national government and a non-government actor, whereby the civil society actor manages state-owned lands for purposes of ecosystem and biodiversity conservation.

In Peru, SERFOR is the national agency overseeing conservation concessions. SERFOR is required by law to approve a technical proposal drafted by the applicant organization prior to awarding a conservation concession. Once the technical proposal is approved, the applicant prepares a management plan that includes an investment commitment. The award process involves substantial public consultations with local and regional stakeholders, including local communities, regional authorities, and the private sector.

Once the concession is awarded, the concessionaire provides annual reports and inspections as well as comprehensive evaluation by SERFOR every five years to verify compliance with the management plan, if the concessionaire is found to comply with the management plan the contract is automatically extended for another forty-year period.

rev. June 2015


Photo of Los Amigos conservation concession

View from the monitoring tower at station 2 of the Los Amigos Conservation Concession. Photo: Joe Tobias

Photo of guards

Guards at Monitoring Station 1 of Los Amigos. Photo: Juan Carlos Flores

View of forest at Los Amigos

View from the observation tower at Los Amigos. Photo: Adrian Tejedor

Bird of paradise

Bird of paradise flower at Los Amigos. Photo: Gabby Salazar

White-winged swallow

White-winged swallow. Photo: Gabby Salazar


Butterflies at the Queros concession. Photo: Edilberto Castro

red tapestry