Rainforest Trust Helps Save 1 Million Acres of Amazon Rainforest in Peru

Goeldis Marmoset by Alexandre Buisse
Matses Indigenous people

Rainforest Trust and our partner CEDIA (Center for the Development of the Indigenous Amazonians) are proud to announce that on August 27, 2009, the Matsés National Reserve was designated by the Peruvian national government. The reserve encompasses 1,039,390 acres of pristine Amazonian rainforest and is home to the Matsés indigenous people along with numerous plant and animal species. This is a long awaited triumph for saving the Amazonian rainforests, which has been sought for 13 years by CEDIA, working with the Matsés peoples and providing technical assistance to the government Park Service (SEMARNAP).

During much of this time, Rainforest Trust has been the principal financing source for CEDIAs efforts with the Matsés, supporting community work and provision of technical assistance to the government in an effort to save this precious area of the Amazon. During those 13 years, we have overcome numerous challenges including illegal logging operations that delayed the creation of Matsés national Reserve in Loreto Department of northeastern Peru.

The Reserve was designated for its exceptional biodiversity values and to protect lands traditionally used by the Matsés indigenous peoples who were first contacted in 1969 but presently live on their adjacent community lands. Like so many other remote indigenous peoples, they have been forced to defend their homelands in a bid to preserve their ancient way of life and protect the amazing Amazon rainforest. During a two-week biological exploration of the area in late 2004, a Rapid Biological Inventories team from Chicago’s Field Museum recorded 65 species of mammal and 416 species of bird, plus an estimated 3,000-4,000 plant species. Two rare and endangered monkey species, the Bald Uakari Cacajao calvus and the tiny Goeldi’s Marmoset Callimico goeldii (photo top right), were also recorded.

The proposed reserve area includes an archipelago of white-sand forests that contains floral and faunal endemics and represents a rare habitat in the Amazon. Overall, the region has an extraordinary diversity of plants and animals. Thanks to the perseverance of CEDIA and the commitment of the Matsés communities, the National Reserve was finally declared by the Peruvian Natural Protected Area Service (SERNANP) and the Ministry of Environment.

We wish to extend our sincere thanks to SERNANP and Peruvian Ministry of Environment for this declaration. We also thank the support of our many individual donors and the Blue Moon Foundation and Wild Waters Foundation that lent important support as well. We will continue to seek support for CEDIA’s work to help administer and manage the new National Reserve as well as support the community to develop alternative income-producing activities including extraction of non-timber forest products and improved artisan crafts.

CEDIA is a successful Peruvian non-profit group that works to establish and support both protected and community areas for the indigenous peoples of Peru’s Amazon. Your contributions are vital to help Rainforest Trust assist CEDIA and similar groups to save many more acres of rainforest while they are still standing. Thank you for your support saving the Amazon. Click here to download the state declaration of the Matsés National Reserve (PDF). Click here to see a map of the newly declared Matsés National Reserve.