ACCA Joins Private Conservation Network in Peru

ACA’s Peruvian counterpart, ACCA, recently joined the Red de Conservacion Privada, a private conservation network with representatives from various civil groups, native communities, and private companies that work together for the conservation of Peruvian forests.

The network’s mission is to promote initiatives for private conservation. Its members have protected lands in Huiquilla, Chaparri, and Canioncillo. Other member organizations include the Association for Children and their Environment (ANIA), the Peruvian Society for Environmental Law (SPDA); and ecotourism companies like Rainforest Expeditions and Inkaterra.

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Weaving a Better Future with Sustainability

Santusa Mamani and husband Nicolas Flores representing the Quico Community at HuancaroFrom June 26th trough 30th, members of the weavers association of the community of Quico participated in the VI Feria Internacional Huancaro 2006, celebrated in the Peruvian district of Santiago, Cusco. Quico is one of the eight traditional Quechua communities in the Q’eros Nation, and ACA has been supporting this community in efforts to generate income through the sales of weavings made with traditional patterns and natural dyes.

The Huancaro Fair provides an opportunity for these weavers to discuss techniques with others from around the region and most importantly, it brings new trade opportunities for isolated communities that could be otherwise forgotten.

Santusa Mamani, president of the association’s textile committee, husband Nicolas Flores and other fellow weavers organized a stand to promote their work and represent their community.

At the fair, members of the weavers association (Asociación de Tejedores de la Nación Q’ero) were able to network with national textile organizations and learn from their experiences. Now, they are directly informed about pricing tendencies, techniques, and marketing strategies to satisfy a broader public’s demands.

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Moths: Winged Marvels of the Rainforest Nights

Moths Winged MarvelsDuring daylight, butterflies reign over the rainforest, but at night other winged marvels appear to claim the throne: Moths. ACA’s Wayqechas and Los Amigos Research Stations are the two most important sampling stations for the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT), which is currently conducting studies of selected moth families in the Andes-Amazon region of southeastern Peru.

BRIT has engaged in long-term investigation of the diversity, ecology, and distribution of the Sphingidae (hawkmoths), Arctiidae (tiger moths), and the Saturniidae (emperor moths); species that easily found among the tropical vegetation of the ACA field sites. In 12 months of sampling at one light trap site at the Los Amigos Biological Station, Pedro Centeno, BRIT Moth Project 2005, sampled nearly 100 hawkmoth species, more than 500 tiger moth species, and dozens of species of emperor moths, such as the Automeris liberia depicted in this image.

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Vanessa Sequeira: Sailing Along The Amazon Rivers

Vanessa Sequeira BoatAs some of you may remember, Vanessa Sequeira, a dear friend of us and colleague passed away in Brazil last year while doing her thesis research.

Vanessa joined the ACA family in 1999 dedicating herself to work with Brazil nut producers and setting thus the foundations of our now fully established and successful Brazil nut Project (PCC). As a way of remembering Vanessa, our partner organization in Peru, ACCA, built a boat and named it after her. The “Vanessa Sequeira” is now sailing along the Madre de Dios River in the Amazon basin.

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Two New Field Guides For The Field Museum of Natural History

ACA is working with the Field Museum to produce two new field guides in 2007: hummingbirds and terrestrial mammals. Both field guides will depict species surveyed in the Madre de Dios Watershed, including species specifically for our Los Amigos Biological Station and our Wayqecha Cloud Forest Research Station.

There are many field guides produced at Los Amigos that are already available at the Field Museum website (www. These include:

  • Mamíferos (Mammals) del S.E. Perú by author Renata Leite Pitman.
  • Reptiles del Centro Río Los Amigos, Manu y Tambopata by authors: von May, Emmons, Knell, Jacobs & Rodríguez.
  • Arboles y Arbustos del Centro Río Amigos by authors Foster, Betz & Beltrán.
  • Herbs of Centro Río Amigos by aurthors Foster, Betz & Beltrán.
  • Palmas of Centro Río Amigos by authors Foster, Betz & Beltrán.
  • Trepadores y Epifitas of Centro Río Amigos by authors Foster, Betz & Beltrán.

Make sure you read our Cicra Letter to learn about other research projects being conducted at our Los Amigos Research Station.

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New Hopes for Sacha Inchi Growers

The Association of Sacha Inchi Growers in Manu (APASIMANU) has signed an agreement with AgroIndustrias Amazonicas, Peru’s main distributor of Sacha Inchi oil, to become one of its suppliers.

After several months of continuous conversations between APASI-MANU and AgroIndustrias Amazonicas, ACA’s partner organization in Peru could finally facilitate an agreement that will benefit the Sacha Inchi growers of the Kosñipata valley.

“We have achieved a unification of interests: the private sector, the community and the ACCA NGO, and this group can have only one result which is the confidence in the future.” Said Mr. José Anaya, Director of AgroIndustrias Amazónicas.

This agreement is a milestone achievement of our Micro-enterprise initiatives’ project, currently funded by the Blue Moon Fund. Sacha Inchi, also known as Inca Inchi, is an Amazonian seed high in Omega 6 (36.8 %) and Omega 3 (48.6 %). Being of vegetable origin, the Sacha Inchi oil has 0 cholesterol.

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Bear with us!

Spectacled bear climbing a treeAt the end of last year we had a spectacled bear sighting at our Wayqecha Research Station. Two of our staff workers where doing maintenance work in a trail near the station when a strong, big, messy-coated bear slowly approached them. Our staff stood still, nervous, but still. The bear in turn, was quietly chewing a chunk of Bromelia sp. 5 meters was all that separated our staff from that powerful, robust but yet adorable beast.

The spectacled bear or Tremarctos ornatus is an endangered species that can only be found in a few countries of South America. Although this type of bear is adaptable and can be found in many types of habitats, like rainforests, cloud forests, and even in desert lands, the rapid loss of habitat has been the main threat that pushed this bear species population close to extinction.

Over the past decade or so, conservation programs have made a tremendous effort to protect this animal’s habitat and have contributed to a rebound in its population size. However, numbers are still very low and the spectacled bear continues to be listed under the IUCN Red List.

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Preserving Wild Orchids and Their Ecosystems

Preserving Wild Orchids and Their EcosystemsWild orchids are disappearing in Latin America due to over-collection and loss of habitat. Peru alone has lost more than 13 percent of its forest from 1950-1992. Thankfully, scientists, students and local resident naturalists are collaborating to document and conserve wild orchids of the neotropics and their ecosystems. In addition to discovering new orchids, there is a comprehensive orchid inventory monitoring program that provides a baseline for documenting overall ecosystem’s health.

Team members from the Andes to Amazon Biodiversity Program (AABP) at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) in collaboration with ACA are studying wild orchids in the Andes-Amazon region of southeast Peru. The project is currently based at ACA’s Los Amigos Biological Station and Wayqecha Research Station, covering transitional region where the Andes Mountains slope down to meet with the Amazon basin. Experts in the field say that research in Wayqecha could help promote conservation in the area and ensure the protection of these wild orchids and their ecosystem for many years.

The main goals are to study the diversity and ecology of wild orchids and to document this work through the publication of checklists, field guides, scientific papers and an online database. A major goal of the orchid project is to study the effect of habitat, season and elevation on the change in orchid species diversity and ecology. So far the project has been a success. The AABP field team collected 60 species of flowering or fruiting orchids from forest and wetland areas around the Los Amigos Biological Station in September 2005. In Wayqecha Research Station, in only five days of initial fieldwork in 2004, the AABP team documented 110 orchids in Wayqecha forests.

Orchid scientists and orchid enthusiast are invited to view the AABP orchid collection online at the AABP Atrium website (atrium., where one can view digital images of orchids and other plants collected by project botanists.

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Manu Cloud Forest Observatory and Canopy Walkway System Underway

Cloud Forest CanopyACA is pleased to announce a new and exciting project: The Manu Cloud Forest Observatory and Canopy Walkway System.

The project consists of a highly sophisticated aluminum canopy walkway system that will include an observatory in the Peruvian cloud forests, at ~9,500 ft asl. The walkway will be constructed along steep mountain slopes in the Kosñipata valley and will include a high-end technology classroom tower for educational courses and research activities.

The canopy walkway system will be fully integrated with a trail system to provide a unique experience both for the general public and for researchers and educators.

Our partners for this project are the ACEER Foundation, Greenheart Conservation, the National Geographic Society, Alcan Inc., the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, among others. More news on the development of this project in our next issue.

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The Quico Community Enjoys A Cup Of Hot Chocolate At 13,450 ft

The Quico Community Enjoys A Cup Of Hot Chocolate At 13,450 ft Students in lineWhen one lives at 13,450 ft in the Peruvian Andes, a cup of hot chocolate and a Christmas present have a whole new meaning. On December 20, 2006 our partner organization in Peru, the Asociación para la Conservación de la Cuenca Amazónica (ACCA) organized a Christmas celebration with the children of the Quico community in Cusco.

Quico is a weaving community of about 60 families that live high in the Andean mountains of the Kosñipata Valley. When it comes to weaving their magnificent textiles, all family members participate, from the very young and playful to very old and wise. Their weaving techniques are ancient, dating back perhaps to the times of the Incas.

ACCA works with the Quicos helping them improve their weaving techniques, and providing training in the use of natural dyes as part of a Micro-enterprise initiatives’ project funded by the Blue Moon Fund and ACA.

This past December, a team of ACCA visited the Quicos bringing hot chocolate and presents for 120 children. The Christmas celebration not only was enjoyed by the children, but also by the parents and teachers of the local school. The presents given to the children included musical instruments like quenas, zampoñas and flutes for the boys; the girls received little toy-stuffed llamas and dolls dressed with traditional clothing.

“This is a good day, we like that we work together, thank you.” said Wenceslao, a leader of the community.

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