ACA Opens New Research Station in Southern Peru’s Cloud Forest
October 22, 2006
In June, ACA’s Wayqecha Research Station, located at 2,900 m of elevation in the cloud forest region of Cusco, Peru, opened its doors to researchers from around the world. In the months of July and August alone, Wayqecha hosted 29 different researchers from various American, British and Peruvian institutions, such as University of Florida, University of Missouri, Texas A&M University, and Oxford University.
Wayqecha Research Station aims to protect the cloud forest’s biodiversity as it facilitates research which will lead to a better understanding of this ecosystem. Cloud forests receive hundreds of inches of rain every year. Their trees, mosses and soil work as giant sponges capturing the abundant rainfall and then releasing it slowly into a network of small streams and creeks that represent the smallest tributaries of the vast Amazon drainage.
Cloud forests are of critical conservation value for many reasons:
- they contain a vast storehouse of species, many of them narrowly endemic
- They are among the ecosystems hardest hit by the amphibian extinction crisis
- They will serve as natural corridors for plant and animal species pushed uphill by global warming.
At the moment, Wayqecha is ready to receive up to 12 people at a time. The station is equipped with 3 cabins for researchers, a dining room for up to 40 people, a kitchen, a laundry room, and a camping area. Satellite internet and VOIP are also available.
In addition to research in the cloud forest, ACA is actively involved with communities in the region to develop sustainable resource use practices.
We have three projects already in place:
- Extraction of essential oils from medicinal plants
- Production of high-quality cooking oil from the native Sacha Inchi plant
- Production of natural dyes used to color traditional textiles.
The new Wayqecha station is just 175 km from our Los Amigos station in the Amazonian lowlands. Together, research at these sites will provide a full panorama of the biodiversity and climate changes in the Andes-Amazon region.