August 12, 2011 | Together with a host of local governments and nongovernmental organizations, we are supporting efforts to create a number of regional protected areas in northern Peru that will help protect millions of acres of ecosystems – from rich Amazon rainforests and Andean páramos, to coastal deciduous forests and offshore islands.
In the Loreto region of Peru, the national government has just made official the huge Nanay-Pintuyacu-Chambira regional conservation area of nearly 2.4 million acres. This area was created by the regional government two years ago under the PROCREL program that we support, but this latest step makes this vast Amazon rainforest an official part of the national system of protected areas. The conservation area is very important for the protection of the water supply for the city of Iquitos, and will also help protect native flora and fauna used by local populations in a number of sustainable development projects.
Also in Loreto, the Regional Council unanimously declared the ancestral territory of the indigenous Maijuna as a public interest site for biodiversity and cultural conservation proposals. The site has an extension of over 800,000 acres. Romero Rios, chief of the Maijuna nation, added that this ordinance is an important step in the creation process of the Maijuna Regional Conservation Area and will support efforts to manage and protect wildlife, forest and seven headwaters located in the site as well as to rescue the traditions and language of the Maijuna nation with approximately 400 inhabitants. Conservation efforts here are critical to preserve the rich biodiversity of the forest and to guarantee the survival of the Maijuna nation against those threats on their natural resources from outsiders (illegal logging and large scale projects like a road that would cross by their land).
In northwestern Peru, we have also had a number of recent achievements and progress in our campaign to create the first six areas within a regional protected area system. Most outstanding is the national government’s recent declaration of the 21,000 acre Angostura-Facial regional protected area that we have been working to create for a number of years. Staff members in our Piura, Peru office are also working with regional authorities to prepare the additional documentation for the national declaration of two other regional protected areas – the complex of coastal lagoons and estuaries at Virilla (111,000 acres) and the endangered tropical dry forest area around Salitral of 86,500 acres. Additionally, the Illescas Hills coastal dry forest area was declared as a national protected area late last year, and NCI is helping to develop a comprehensive management plan.
Offshore, we are working with the regional authorities to develop the documentation for a national declaration of Isla Foca (Seal Island) as part of the Offshore Islands National Reserve, and in the Talara tropical dry forest within the northwest Peru Biosphere reserve we are assisting in the resolution of a number of conflicts due to mining claims in the area. We are also identifying other potential protected area projects in the neighboring state of Lambayeque, and in the highland paramos of Piura where 250,000 acres could be protected with community support, and where water funds could be developed. An emphasis on development in the area by regional government officials has also prompted NCI to help generate sustainable development alternatives for local populations based on a conservation model in and around these areas.