Announcing our Manu-Tambopata Corridor Initiative
April 22, 2009
The Manu-Tambopata Corridor Initiative (MAT) was launched in February 2009 to conserve one of the most important biodiversity hotspots in the world, a 519,000 acre (210,000 hectare) area of rainforest in the Peruvian Amazon. This initiative is the centerpiece of ACA’s efforts to lessen the environmental impacts of the Interoceanic Highway, a transcontinental road that models predict could produce a swath of deforestation the size of Massachusetts and Connecticut combined.
The Interoceanic Highway is expected to be completed by 2011 and runs across the South American continent from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean ports of Peru. This expanse of paved highway threatens to create a band of deforestation of up to 62 miles (100km) across. Rampant deforestation in this region would likely change the weather patterns in the Amazon and emit millions of tons of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.
Establishing the Manu-Tambopata Corridor will protect the area between the Los Amigos Conservation Concession and the Tambopata reserve. At the same time, it will conserve the last unprotected stretch at the heart of the Vilcabamba-Amboró Mega Corridor, which connects 16 protected areas from Peru to Bolivia in a chain of pristine tropical rainforest and pampa ecosystems. The region is home to an incredible abundance of plants and animals, including giant river otters, jaguars, scarlet macaws, spider monkeys, and wild vanilla trees among others. The MAT will connect world-famous Manu National Park to the Tambopata National Reserve by way of ACA’s Los Amigos Conservation Concession.
The objective of the MAT Corridor Initiative is to protect forest cover and ecological connectivity while creating sustainable economic and social benefits for local communities. ACA will work with rural families and regional policy makers to introduce a mosaic of conservation areas and sustainable land management practices that can make a profit, such as agroforestry, ecotourism, extraction of non-timber forest products, and carbon finance. The MAT initiative will promote these conservation-based industries as a substitute for predatory land uses that threaten to destroy the rainforest, such as logging, large-scale agriculture, cattle ranching and slash-and-burn farming. Stay tuned for updates as these exciting projects develop!