ARC Amazon – Las Piedras Amazon Center
ARCAmazon, or Alliance for Research and Conservation in the Amazon, was founded in 2014 and is currently focusing their work on the protection of the Las Piedras river in Peru.
The Las Piedras Amazon Center (LPAC) is a conservation area created by ARCAmazon that encompasses 11,000 acres along the Las Piedras River in the Madre de Dios Region. The Madre de Dios region is one of the most biodiverse in the world, so conservation is extremely important here. LPAC was ARCAmazon to create a land buffer in the increasingly deforested region. LPAC is within 40 kilometers of the intercontinental highway, which has spurred a rise in deforestation due to the increased access to primary forest it creates. LPAC focuses its efforts on protecting the land and creating healthy communication with surrounding communities. It also provides a place and environment for researchers, conservationists, and educational organizations. Future goals for LPAC include expanding ranger programs, building labs for researchers, conserving more land, and connecting people to the rainforest.
While staying at LPAC, our team had the opportunity to learn from their researchers who guided hikes through the reservation and gave lectures on their research and the conservation work of the center. LPAC also hosted the 5th annual Future Leaders Summit organized by Wild Forests and Fauna.
Check out ARCAmazon HERE! You can watch videos to learn about their projects and look at the different volunteer, intern, and research programs to get involved!
LPAC’s Partner – Lucerna
Lucerna is a recently established village made up of native Peruvians along the Las Piedras River in the Madre de Dios region. The community is mostly made up of families that fled the mountain village of VRAEM* to escape the violence of the drug trade and the and the economic demand of the region to grow coca. Lucerna is inhabited mainly by loggers and farmers, who typically use the land unsustainably. Surrounding organizations such as LPAC has created relationships with the community and introduced feasible methods for land use that help to conserve the area.
*VRAEM- Valle de los ríos Apurímac, Ene, y Mantaro- Valley of the rivers Apurímac, Ene, y Mantaro
A native Amahuacan community, made up of 22 families, and 4,394 hectares of land between the Las Piedras and Pariamanu rivers in the eastern Madre de Dios Region. The property is mostly conserved, with the rest used for the residents and farming. The community harvests brazil nuts, cacao, and bananas among other products. Additionally, the shaman of the community cultivates and uses about 35 various medicinal plants.
They are very goal-oriented, with focuses on management plans to sustain the forest while living off of it. The community is conscious of using conservation and agroforestry to decrease their environmental impact, while using ecotourism as an additional source of income. The community wants to improve structure, growth, and education. Check out their plans HERE! The community has varying beliefs, some are Catholic, some believe in spirits of the forest, and others are non-religious. They have four committees that focus on the various goals and general governmental roles over the congregation. When asked if the people believe the forest has a spirit, and if protecting the forest as a whole was important to the people, the Boca Pariamanu shaman said, “they believe it’s worth protecting — it’s their richness — regardless of if they think it has a spirit”.
Hoja Nueva is a non-profit organization focuses on research about agroforestry, sustainability, and conservation on the Piedras River in the Madre de Dios region. It was co-founded by five people with various skills and expertise in the rainforest. Hoja is inhabited by community members, researchers of various fields, volunteers, interns, and tourists. Goals of the organization surround the ideology of sustainable agriculture, by teaching local community members how to be invested in the forest and the importance of conservation as well. By improving how local communities interact with the environment, their livelihood can be improved as well.
Check them out HERE! They offer a variety of ways for people to get involved with their work. You can work as an intern or volunteer, visit their Eco-Center as a tourist, apply for a research position, or attend a fundraiser!
The Future Leaders
In the last five years, Wild Forests & Fauna sponsored a Future Leaders Summit, a conference focusing on environmental sustainability, at the Las Piedras Amazon Center (LPAC). These future leaders, called Innovadores (“innovators”), were made up of local entrepreneurs who would stay in the Madre de Dios region for a week to learn about sustainable business strategies and projects. Their slogan is “To believe in a better future is to invest in our youth.” This year, Wild FF and The Forest Online partnered together to wrap up the five-year project, where the Future Leaders and the students of The Forest Online collaborated on various workshops involving the rainforest and the power of storytelling. You can check out this amazing experience here and the WildFF website here.