An ecotourism project allowing the forest’s inhabitants to become its protectors
The most deforested region
The project is being developed in the San Martin region which, with a deforestation rate of 18.51%, is one of the most deforested areas in Peru.
This area under threat of the risks posed agricultural migration, the illegal poaching of native species, logging and illegal land occupation. Water resources are coming under strain from the diversion of natural rivers, over-exploitation and contamination.
It is vital that any efforts to protect the Regional conservation area Cordillera Escalera (created on 25th December 2005 and covering a total area of 149 870 hectares) find a way to co-operate with the demands which human activity places upon the area, since the principal causes of its destruction are linked to peasant migration within the protected areas and the absence of any attempt to inform or raise awareness among local communities.
The inhabitants of the Alto Shilcayo basin, situated within this area, have realised the importance of protecting their territory, deciding therefore to cease any illegal activities and commit themselves to the forest’s protection instead. They have signed a convention with the government, with a view to developing sustainable activities in the Regional conservation area of Cordillera Escalera.
The project is being led by the locals themselves, who have formed the association known as APFF. Those who have long been responsible for degradation of the area are now becoming guardians of the very same forest, in the hope that a commitment to nature conservation will allow them to carry out their activities with their heads held high.
Uniting ecotourism and conservation activities
The project concerns the Alto Shilcayo catchment basin, an area of tropical rainforest in the Amazon basin of about 2,500 hectares in size. The local landscape is characterized by clusters of low-lying clouds, hills, belvederes and numerous waterfalls. It also provides a crucial supply of drinking water.
The project aims to preserve and protect the Regional conservation area of Cordillera Escalera and its water resources, and to restore its rich biodiversity through the responsible management of natural resources.
A further objective is to generate new sources of revenue for the local community which has, until recently, been reliant upon the sale of timber and agricultural products for a livelihood, by developing a programme of responsible tourism.
The first tourist trail offers visitors a guided trek into the forest, lasting from 1 -3 days. Some basic rustic shelters have been constructed for the benefit of visitors wishing to stay for several nights. The association has also launched a species reintroduction programme, starting with the release of 20 peccaries (a kind of wild boar) back into the wild.
The association as it stands right now requires training in order to develop the more professional outlook which will allow its members to make a living out of their new projects. It needs to become more robust and credible in order to ensure that the local government goes ahead in signing the proposed conventions, as well as to widen awareness of forest conservation amongst local communities. It also needs to develop new projects and infrastructure, and to continue with its species reintroduction programme.
Services which the forest has to offer
By supporting this project you will be making a donation to the forest, thanking it and helping it to maintain its services which are essential to human life, such as rainfall regulation, atmospheric cooling and the conservation of hundreds of medical plants which guarantee our survival in the future. But more than that, you will be taking the chance to ‘‘go green’’: to relax and meditate in a natural environment which everyone can enjoy.
Find out the latest project news