Peru Announces a New 1.3 Million Hectare National Park

Primary Forest National Park 1For nearly a decade, conservationists have pushed for increased protection of Peru’s Sierra del Divisor Reserved Zone. This weekend, their dream became a reality, with official declaration from the Peruvian government making Sierra del Divisor the world’s newest national park.

“The creation of the Sierra del Divisor National Park is a historic event,” wrote Peru’s Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal on Friday. “It is a confirmation of the Peruvian government’s commitment to conservation, sustainable development and the fight against climate change.

On Sunday President Ollanta Humala officially designated the national park to much fanfare in the Nuevo Saposoa indigenous community, which is near Sierra del Divisor.

The new park spans 1.3 million hectares (5,470 square miles), making it significantly bigger than Yellowstone National Park in the U.S. and four times the size of California’s Yosemite National Park. It is located in eastern Peru along the country’s border with Brazil and contains vast tracts of undisturbed rainforest.

Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project

The Amazon Conservation Association, in close collaboration with its Peruvian sister organization Conservación Amazónica-ACCA, is excited to announce the launch of the new web portal MAAP: Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project ( MAAP is dedicated to presenting novel technical information and analysis pertaining to the megadiverse Andean Amazon.

MAAPThe centerpiece of MAAP is the presentation of data and maps associated with our near real-time deforestation monitoring system based on analysis of satellite imagery. This information will be published on an ongoing basis around an “Image of the Week” concept. We invite you to review the first two Image of the Week articles at: One is about mining in Madre de Dios, Peru and the other is about cocoa and oil palm plantations in Loreto, Peru.

The ultimate goal of MAAP is to distribute important technical information in a timely manner and in an easy-to-understand format in both English and Spanish. Our intended audience is policy makers, civil society, the media, and the public at large. We hope that sharing such information with these actors will contribute to changes in policy and practice that minimize future deforestation and promote conservation in the Andean Amazon.

We will be sending out an email whenever we post a new Image of the Week.

If you would like to be added to the email list, please contact with the word Subscribe in the Subject line.

The greatest and most endangered species in the Amazon rainforest

The greatest and most endangered species in the Amazon rainforest is not the jaguar or the harpy eagle. It’s the isolated and uncontacted tribes.      Mark Plotkin

In this energetic and sobering video, the ethnobotanist brings us into the world of the forest’s indigenous tribes and the incredible medicinal plants that their shamans use to heal. He outlines the challenges and perils that are endangering them — and their wisdom — and urges us to protect this irreplaceable repository of knowledge.

Amazon Tribe Makes First Contact With Outside World

2014FirstContactUncontacted Indians making contact with a settled Ashaninka community near the Brazil-Peru border. Survivors of a previously unknown Amazon tribe have escaped gunmen in Peru, seeking refuge with settled indigenous communities in Brazil. But as Alice Bayer reports, their problems are far from over. Many remain under threat in Peru, and even the refugees are at risk of common but potentially lethal infections. Read more at TheEcologist.Org

Turning point for Peru’s forests?

Norway and Germany put muscle and money behind
ambitious agreement.

From the Andes to the Amazon, Peru houses some of the world’s most spectacular forests. Proud and culturally-diverse indigenous tribes inhabit the interiors of the Peruvian Amazon, manu_0728including some that have chosen little contact with the outside world. And even as scientists have identified tens-of-thousands of species that make their homes from the leaf litter to the canopy, many thousands more remain undiscovered and nameless.

Yet Peru’s forests are facing a barrage of threats: unscrupulous oil and gas companies, illegal logging, conversion for agriculture, massive road building, and industrial and artisanal gold-mining among others. Indigenous leaders have lost their lives striving to protect their forests, and some species are on the brink of extinction. The crisis has also spread beyond the Continue reading at…

Andrew Bale captures Ese’Eja culture for National Geographic-sponsored project

As a hunting, gathering and fishing people, the Ese’Eja are always in search of their next meal. While hunting for white-lipped peccaries, Jose Ekiney spied a small body of water filled with fish. In minutes his pockets were full, and we resumed the hunt.

by Ben West ’14. Photos and captions by Andrew Bale.

They climbed down from the sky in the rain forest, descending sturdy cotton ropes onto sacred ground. But for the Ese’Eja (EH-see-AY-ha), a hunter-gatherer-fisher group in southwestern Peru, the moorings to their past and their culture are in some cases taut or breaking. As part of their effort to hold onto their history, way of life and ancestral lands, photographer Andrew Bale journeyed to Peru’s remote jungles this summer to capture images for a National Geographic-funded project to map the Ese’Eja’s culture.

The project, staffed by videographers, photographers, anthropologists and botanists, aims to enable Ese’Eja society to reclaim ancestral lands from     Continue reading…

Peru Fights Gold Fever with Fire and Military Force

2014AmazonGoldRushA gold rush in Peru’s Amazon is turning forests into desert. Can a crackdown stop the miners? The dynamite crew set the charges and ordered everyone back.

They put explosives beneath the miners’ hammocks and in the outdoor kitchen, where potatoes were still hot on the stove. More fuses were placed in the processing shed nearby, which had a blackened torch for melting gold and a rusty barrel of sand laced with mercury.

Get down, a police commander said. Mouths open, another shouted. Apparently it was better for the eardrums.


Peru’s Most Important Forests Felled

Paradise being lost: Peru’s most important forests felled for timber, crops, roads, mining

Peru lost nearly a quarter-million hectares of forest over 12 years

PrimatesIn 1988, when British environmentalist Norman Myers first described the concept of a “biodiversity hotspot” – an area with at least 0.5 percent or 1,500 endemic plants that has lost 70 percent of its primary vegetation – he could have been painting a picture of the highly threatened Peruvian Andes mountain range. Today, the Andes are an immediate and looming portent of the fate of the Peruvian Amazon rainforest.

This year, Peru scored a 45.05 on the Environmental Performance Index (EPI), coming in 110th in the world. The EPI is a metric that analyses the performance of a country with respect to high-priority environmental issues, mainly the protection of human health from environmental harm and the protection of ecosystems themselves.

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Peru’s First-Ever Carbon Map Could Help The World Breathe Easier

NG Carbon Map
The Carnegie Airborne Observatory imaged this fragmented Amazonian landscape. The largest trees, and thus the highest carbon stocks, are shown in red. Blue areas are cattle pastures harboring extremely low carbon stocks, with the small exception of the individual trees remaining in the clearings. Photo courtesy of Greg Asner

To put an accurate price on carbon, you need to know how much you have and where it’s located, researchers say.

Stanford University scientists have produced the first-ever high-resolution carbon geography of Peru, a country whose tropical forests are among the world’s most vital in terms of mitigating the global impact of climate change.

Released today, the 69-page report to Peru’s Ministry of the Environment could become a tool itself to battle rising temperatures. It is complete with vivid 3-D maps that pinpoint with a high degree of certainty the carbon density of Peru’s vast and varied landscape, from its western deserts and savannas, to its lowland forests, to its soaring Andean peaks, to its lush eastern Amazon rainforests.

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