Amazon Conservation Association (ACA) is delighted to share news of recent successes in community-based conservation in the Andes-Amazon region—with your support, three new protected areas were established over the past few months! Created with community engagement and participation, these new private conservation areas, covering 46,659 acres in the Cusco and Madre de Dios departments of Peru, will contribute to the protection of one of the most biologically rich places on the planet: the tropical Andes.
Private conservation areas (PCAs) are privately owned lands of biological, environmental, or scenic importance that are legally designated as conservation areas by Peru’s National System of Protected Areas and thus figure among the key landscapes that receive the system’s active protection. This area is globally recognized as a “biodiversity hotspot” due to its high concentration of endemic species facing severe habitat loss; moreover, its forests provide vital ecosystem services to the communities that live in and around them while helping to combat climate change.
Ukumari Llaqta Private Conservation Area
The highland community of Japu created this 46,196-acre reserve in Peru’s Cusco department; this indigenous community is part of the Q’eros Nation, whose residents are said to be the closest living descendants of the Incas. The rich montane forests of the Ukumari Llaqta PCA are home to an extraordinary number of species, many threatened by habitat loss, including the spectacled bear, Andean fox, and white-tailed deer. The area ranges from Andean highlands to Amazonian foothills, and ensures a refuge for those species expected to be forced to migrate upslope to escape the impacts of climate change.
Pumataki Private Conservation Area
The 406-acre Pumataki PCA is located within the territory of the Pillco Grande community in the department of Cusco and shares its eastern border with the southern tip of world-famous Manu National Park. These grassland and cloud forest ecosystems are home to hundreds of species—many of them endangered, such as the spectacled bear and the puma—and also contain the headwaters of the Pilcomayo River. The Pillco Grande community, which began efforts to develop the PCA in 2009, is interested in carrying out environmentally-friendly ecotourism and research activities. Located within an area of rapid deforestation and land-use change, the community has a strong commitment to reducing threats to the area from forest fires, logging, and agricultural expansion so that future generations can receive benefits from these communal forest resources.
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. The creation of these new protected areas was accompanied by community agroforestry, reforestation, and sustainable agriculture projects along with training in the prevention and control of forest fires. To see these activities and the community guards in action, check out our video: Regional REDD+ Models.
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) for two ACA projects: “New REDD Models for Tropical Montane Forests” and “Regional REDD Policy and Working Models for Indigenous and Traditional Communities in the Peruvian Andes-Amazon Interface.”
San Juan Bautista Private Conservation Area
The 57-acre San Juan Bautista PCA, located in the buffer zone of the Tambopata National Reserve in the department of Madre de Dios, was added to Peru’s National System of Protected Areas by a local family. They wish to preserve forests on their land for their grandchildren and carry out ecotourism and provide research and education opportunities within their PCA. 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. Researchers have already identified 33 threatened amphibian species within the PCA and sighted rare birds such as the endangered blue-headed macaw (Primolius couloni), shown here.
With support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, ACA provided technical support, including mapping and a species inventory, along with the legal documentation to obtain the PCA designation. While small in size, this area represents a key conservation commitment due to its location in the midst of an area rapidly being deforested by illegal gold mining in the fragile Tambopata Reserve buffer zone. Furthermore, it will provide the family with stronger legal protection against invasion of its property and forests by miners.