Alaskan Students Save Something They’ve Never Seen: Trees

Buckland Rainforest Club
Buckland Rainforest Club
Buckland Rainforest Club

Most of the 450 residents of the isolated village of Buckland, Alaska, are Inupiaq Eskimos who live the same subsistence-based life as generations of their ancestors before them did: hunting migrating Caribou or fishing for Smelt in the Buckland River.

In this remote part of the Alaskan tundra, trees are a rare sight, but that didn’t stop a group of Buckland students from doing something to protect them.

Fourth, fifth, and sixth-grade students from the Nunachiam Sissauni School spent weeks learning about the importance of rainforests–and the threats they face–as part of a curriculum on the environment. During the 2009-2010 school year, students held fundraising events and collected donations of coins with the aim of covering the floor of their school gymnasium. In total they raised an astonishing $1,300 and donated it to Rainforest Trust to protect 26 acres of remote Colombian rainforest.

Students found Rainforest Trust, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that purchases and protects highly-threatened rainforest, through an internet search. The Inupiaq students asked Rainforest Trust to support the emergency Las Tangaras Rainforest Project in the species-rich Chocó of Colombia–home to several communities of the Embera indigenous tribe.

In late November 2010, news outlets announced the discovery of three new amphibians in Las Tangaras rainforest, including a toad that is said to look like famed cartoon miser Montgomery Burns, a character from The Simpsons TV series. Rainforest Trust and its partners in Colombia are now trying to protect the very area where these species were discovered.

“This idea came from the students,” said Buckland teacher and rainforest club sponsor Terri Chapdelaine. “After a discussion about conservation, students said to me ‘we could do that’ and started looking into to making a difference for rainforests.”

Through December 31, 2010, donations to the Las Tangaras appeal were being matched by two generous donors to Rainforest Trust, Frank Kling and Robert Giles. As a result, the students’ donation will have twice the impact.

Buckland Alaska, less than 250 miles from Russia, is nearly 6,000 miles from the site of the Las Tangaras Reserve in the Department of Chocó in northwestern Colombia.

After a class on the important role rainforests play in regulating the climate, providing medicine, and protecting countless plants and animals and indigenous peoples, students jumped at the chance to do their part.

“They really appreciate what rainforests do for the planet,” said Chapdelaine.

Environmental educators with Fundación ProAves, the Rainforest Trust partner in Colombia, recently visited several Embera communities, bringing pictures of the Eskimo students who raised money to help preserve the Tangaras rainforest.

“The Embera children who saw the pictures were very excited when they heard what these [Eskimo] kids–who had never seen trees–were doing,” said David Carlos, Executive Director of ProAves. “So they decided to draw picture of their own rainforest to share with the Eskimos.”

Rainforest Trust is trying to raise funds to protect over 5,500 acres of rainforest from non-native colonists along a highway in order to stop deforestation and ensure a future connection between the various indigenous Embera tribes of the area.

“By protecting this relatively small area, we can effectively create a buffer to save an additional 82,000 acres of land where the Embera communities are located,” said Rainforest Trust Director of Conservation, Dr. Paul Salaman.

But he also says that the time to act is now. A road into the area is being widened and paved, and logging has been on the increase.

“And unfortunately,” says Dr. Salaman, “gold was just discovered in the area–which means we only have a short window to act in before a wave of colonization and deforestation destroys the area.”

But he is quick to hail what he calls “an unprecedented Arctic-to-Andes collaboration.”

“Allegiances between indigenous communities are a natural way forward,” says Dr. Salaman. “The Arctic is suffering the some of the most noticeable effects of global warming, and rainforest conservation is seen as one of the keys” to curbing these effects. Rainforest Trust is delighted to provide the connection for this partnership.”

For their part, the students of the Nunachiam Sissauni Rainforest Club say they’re glad to have been able to do something for rainforests.

To learn more about the reserve, click here.

To read more stories of students saving the rainforst, click here.

Major Land Purchase for World’s Rarest Macaw

Blue-throated Macaw
Blue-throated Macaw
Blue-throated Macaw

A joint effort by leading conservation groups with Rainforest Trust has led to the protection of vital habitat for the Critically Endangered Blue-throated Macaw–the world’s rarest Macaw surviving in the wild. Asociación Armonía, American Bird Cconservancy, Loro Parque Fundacion, and Rainforest Trust are proud to announce the protection of more than 2,867 acres of savanna and rainforest in northwestern Bolivia. This expansive property will now be protected as part of the Barba Azul Nature Reserve–creating a total protected area of 11,555 acres.

“Only about 350 Blue-throated Macaws, including as few as 50 breeding pairs, are believed to exist in the wild, so expanding the reserve was vitally important to preservation efforts for this bird,” said George Fenwick, President of American Bird Conservancy.

“Sadly, the fragile habitat for the macaw was being destroyed in the rush to convert traditional farming practices to intensive soy and cattle farms. Saving this land will expand the sole protected area in this delicate ecosystem and safeguard critical habitat, not only for the macaw, but for many other threatened species, including jaguars and giant anteaters,” said Bennett Hennessey, who headed efforts for Rainforest Trust–the only nonprofit in the US that focuses primarily on land purchase for conservation.

“By purchasing this land, we will be able to extend protection across the spectacular Omi river and create a more effective boundary against the impacts of cattle ranching, while incorporating more crucial Blue-throated Macaw habitat into the reserve. The enlarged reserve now protects five important Motacu palm forest islands. The Blue-throated Macaw depends on the oil-rich fruit of this palm tree for its survival,” said Mauricio Herrera from Armonía/ Loro Parque Fundacion Blue-throated Macaw Conservation Program.

The Blue-throated Macaw is found only in one place on Earth: the Beni Savannas of Bolivia. It is listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) due to habitat loss and poaching for the wild bird trade. The complex system of grasslands, marshes, and forests that makes up the Beni is largely in the hands of cattle ranchers. Every year, large swaths of land are lost to intentional burning for pastureland.

The Barba Azul Nature Reserve is now being managed by Asociación Armonía Bolivia. “Barba Azul” means “Blue Beard” in Spanish and is the colloquial name for this beautiful Bolivian endemic bird. The preserve also protects several other threatened bird species and provides habitat for large mammals such as jaguars, peccaries, pumas, giant anteaters, pampas deer, black caiman, and maned wolves.

The Armonia / Loro Parque Fundacion Blue-throated Macaw Conservation Program has been striving to protect the species since 1995. Through the years, various searches carried out during the short dry season between May and October turned up several clusters of birds, usually pairs, nearly 60 miles from previously known sites. But all records were of family groups, consisting of three to five individuals, often nesting on massive ranches worth millions of dollars. Unfortunately, the protection of any one of these numerous sites would not offer sufficient protection for the threatened bird. Efforts were made to survey the most difficult-to-access areas of the Beni Savannas. Here, a vital discovery was made: a thriving colony of Blue-throated Macaws, at least 80 in number that had been overlooked by poachers. This isolated area, spanning nine private ranches, held the world’s highest abundance of Blue-throated Macaws.

One of those ranches was acquired in 2008 to establish the Barba Azul Nature Reserve. Then in May 2010 a key property of 2,800 acres beside the reserve called “Juvena” was put up for sale. With great urgency, Rainforest Trust and ABC raised the funds necessary for acquiring the entire 2,867 acres to provide a cruical expansion of the Barba Azul Nature Reserve, thanks to an incredible response from our donors.

The expanded reserve provides a venue for actively researching conservation techniques for the Macaw and the grassland habitat. Researchers will place and monitor nest boxes, conduct habitat regeneration studies comparing areas with and without cattle, and research habitat requirements of the macaw.

We wish to thank our many donors, including RJM Foundation, Sally Davidson, Mary Gartshore and Peter Carson, John Moore, Ann Kruglak, Urs-Peter Stäuble, Brenton Head, Parrots International, and that made this major conservation success a reality. Thank you.

Learn about our efforts to save additional habitat for the Blue-throated Macaw.

62,000 Acres of Bolivian Forest Saved

Construction of the reserve lodging
Vista view from reserve

Over 62,000 acres of pristine tropical rainforest in Bolivia were protected with Rainforest Trust help, following a decision by an indigenous community to create a Tourism Refuge in the Sadiri rainforest.

On February 22, 2010, the indigenous village of San Jose de Uchupiomonas voted overwealmingly in favor of a plan to protect a wide swath of the forest they control, within the designation of a Tourism Refuge. This decision represents a victory for conservation and prevents old growth tropical timber in the region from being cut. Hunting will also be strictly prohibited, and no burning or agricultural activities will be allowed within the area.

The long road to conservation…
For centuries, the small village of San Jose de Uchupiamonas sat isolated in the vast rainforest that now comprises the Madidi National Park. Then, in the late 1990s, the Bolivian government created a 60-mile road through the lush rainforest habitat of Serrania Sadiri to the village.

The road travels through the Madidi National Park management area, which also makes up the Indigenous Community Territory of San Jose de Uchupiamonas. Because of this legal designation, the land here is managed by the people of San Jose, and the decision to protect, ignore or destroy the rainforest rests with the villagers.

Early on in its existence, the road through the rainforest and foothill forest of Serrania Sadiri put enormous pressure on the delicate forest ecosystem and spurred a rise the unsustainable logging of the area’s large Mahogany trees–the most valuable tree at the time. An increase in indiscriminate hunting was also seen. The rainforest was under grave threat of destruction, unless an alternative could be found.

In an effort to avert this crisis, the Bolivian organization Pueblo Nuevo, with assistance from Rainforest Trust, began investigating options with the community. Ecotourism was seen as a feasible long-term strategy for conservation because of the proximity of the forest to the popular tropical tourism destination of Rurrenabaque. The area’s spectacular natural beauty and biodiversity were also factors. The forest protects over four hundred species of birds including Military Macaws. Groups of White-lipped Peccaries are frequently seen in the area as are Jaguars and Pumas.

In 2008, Pueblo Nuevo began the tourism development project, thanks to support in memoriam of Thomas Henry Wilson Sr. and Thomas Henry Wilson Jr. The project is specifically designed to be developed with the San Jose de Uchupiamonas community and is democratic and transparent in nature; the entire community is meant to benefit from this project. The culmination of that effort is the ongoing project to improve transportation methods to the town and to build an ecolodge on top of Serrania Sadiri for the international and local tourism market. Tourism is seen as a viable, long-term sustainable alternative to save this rainforest, forever.

The project will create four cabins with private bathrooms within the Serrania Sadiri rainforest with a dinning complex looking out over the forested valley. The project is designed by the San Jose de Uchupiamonas residents, using traditional construction materials and techniques to give the tourist a comfortable, clean, easy access to an amazing forest. The facilities are scheduled to be ready by June 2011.

New Reserve for Fuertes’s Parrots: a Gold Mine for Conservation

Fuertes' Parrot: rediscovered in 2002
Fuertes' Parrots in nesting box
Fuertes's Parrot

For 91 years, the Fuertes’s Parrot (also known as the Indigo-winged Parrot) had vanished, and was considered by many to be extinct. Then, in 2002, researchers from Rainforest Trust partner ProAves Colombia made an astounding discovery: a colony of 60 of these delicate birds surviving in a fragment of cloud forest in Colombia’s Central Andes.

After nine years of conservation efforts, another discovery in the region poses a grave threat to this Critically Endangered bird.

The South African mining giant, AngloGold Ashanti, recently announced that it had found one of the world’s “top ten gold deposits”–a 13-million ounce vein of gold in Colombia’s Central Andes. This discovery is only 12 miles from one of the last two colonies of Fuertes’s Parrots on Earth.

Rainforest Trust with our partners Fundación ProAves, Fundación Loro Parque, and American Bird Conservancy herald a critical success for this unique and fragile habitat and its threatened biodiversity.

In May 2010, after months of negotiations, we helped acquire and protect the 368-acre (149-hectare) fragment of cloud forest nearest to the gold discovery–an area that contains a vital population of the remarkable Fuertes’s Parrot (see map of site).

The main population of this parrot (approximately 30-40 pairs) was protected by Rainforest Trust and ProAves within the 16,000-acre Parrot Corridor established in 2009. But the threat posed by mining spurred our support to protect this additional group of 5-10 breeding pairs.

Since its rediscovery, and thanks to strenuous conservation efforts, the total population of Fuertes’s Parrots has grown from 60 individuals to an estimated 150-200 birds. An extremely specialized species, the Fuertes’s Parrot feeds on mistletoe and other fruits. It cannot survive in captivity.

“We are delighted that within one year, we have helped protected the entire global population of this spectacular multi-colored parrot and ensured a safe future for its survival,” noted Dr Paul Salaman, Conservation Director of Rainforest Trust. “And we are very grateful to Robert Giles and American Bird Conservancy for matching our donations and making this success a reality.”

“We are also elated that the new reserve will be called the Giles-Fuertes Nature Reserve.”

The new Giles-Fuertes Nature Reserve is located two hours from the provincial capital of Tolima, Ibaque, and includes over 50 acres of pastureland that will be reforested by native trees while adjacent pasturelands will be fenced so that cattle cannot enter the forests and eat tree seedlings. Artificial nest-boxes will be installed to providing nesting sites for the Fuertes’s Parrot as many mature trees with natural cavities have been selectively logged for timber and firewood.

The property includes a traditional cabin for a reserve guard to be stationed to protect the reserve and allow researchers and visitors to be stationed. The reserve will be immediately registered for the national network of protected areas to ensure mining is prohibited. Other rare and endemic species found here include the endangered Mountain Wooly Tapir and the Spectacled Bear.

Rainforest Trust is grateful to all our donors who contributed to establish the Giles-Fuertes Nature Reserve.

We could not have done this without your help.

Stunning Success for Parrots Once Thought Extinct

Yelllow-eared Parrot
Yellow-eared Parrot
Yellow-eared Parrot Corridor

The Yellow-eared Parrot, once widely-considered extinct, now numbers over 1,000 and has been downgraded from “Critically Endangered” to “Endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The Parrots’ remarkable recovery comes after years of efforts by Rainforest Trust partner Fundación ProAves to buy and protect the unique habitat of this colorful bird.

The overall population of Yellow-eared Parrot dwindled to near zero during the latter half of the 20th century as a result of extensive habitat loss. The bird was generally thought extinct–until 1998, when researchers from Fundación ProAves were stunned to find a colony of 81 Yellow-eared Parrots in Colombia’s Andes Mountains.

That discovery presented a new responsibility and a critical challenge: protecting the quickly-vanishing habitat of these extremely rare birds and growing the colony to levels that would better ensure long term survival.

Fundación ProAves, in partnership with American Bird Conservancy, Rainforest Trust, Conservation International, and the Loro Parque Foundation, spearheaded the Yellow-eared Parrot Project to ensure the survival of the bird and to purchase land for protection in its fragile habitat.

This extraordinary success is the result of years of surveys and monitoring by ProAves researchers, who documented the most important areas for conservation in a region where less than 5% of the native forest survives.

“Today, almost 11 years later, we see the results of the ongoing work of over 180 individuals and 47 organizations around the world. This also includes contributions by local communities as well as success in research, conservation, and environmental education activities,” said ProAves President Alonso Quevedo.

Key to this breakthrough were the habitat-conservation efforts of various individuals and organizations.

In April 2009, Rainforest Trust was presented with an urgent appeal to purchase critical habitat for the Yellow-eared Parrot. Recognizing the importance of this appeal, Rainforest Trust donor Frank Friedrich Kling from Illinois, committed to funding half the acquisition cost as part of a matching gift campaign. This generous matching support persuaded many Rainforest Trust supporters to donate to the appeal, allowing ProAves to acquire 7,448 acres. Our donors also helped leverage additional support from American Bird Conservancy, IUCN Netherlands/SPN in conjunction with the Netherlands Postcode Lottery, Conservation International, and Robert Wilson, allowing a further 2,614 acres to be acquired.

In total, our partner acquired and saved 10,062 acres on the eastern slope of the Central Andes of Colombia which connect to a further 6,653 acres of cloud forest already under their protection on the mountain chain’s western flank, creating an expansive natural reserve for the parrots.

“This amazing success is proof positive that Rainforest Trust, working in conjunction with local partners, is making a demonstrable difference in the preservation of critically endangered species,” said Rainforest Trust supporter Frank F. Kling.

“I am grateful to have participated in the fundraising campaign that made this possible and now look forward to the next Rainforest Trust critical appeal.”

“In light of the numerous challenges facing wildlife conservation, it’s inspiring to know that we are making the difference between extinction and preservation,” Kling added.

The 14-mile-long Yellow-eared Parrot Conservation Corridor gives this burgeoning population of endangered parrots a secure place to call home and stands as a testament to the power of private land purchase for conservation.

Today, the population of Yellow-eared Parrots numbers over 1,000 individuals, a key threshold for the recovery of the population. Conservation efforts continue with the hope that the spectacular Yellow-eared parrot will once again be a common sight across the Andes of Colombia.

For more information on the project, click here.

Supporters Visit New Colombian Reserve

Yellow-eared Parrot
Roncesvalles supports conservation

Less than a year ago, we launched the urgent appeal to purchase critical habitat in Colombia, home to five endangered parrot species at imminent risk of extinction. Recognizing the critical importance of this appeal, Frank Friedrich Kling from Illinois committed half the acquisition cost and many Rainforest Trust donors stepped up to match Frank’s generous offer including Urs-Peter Stäuble from Switzerland. The support enabled our Colombian partner to immediately act to buy and save over 10,000 acres in 2009.

With such a strong commitment to saving the Yellow-eared Parrot and many other endangered wildlife, Rainforest Trust Director of Conservation Director Dr. Paul Salaman organized a short tour for Frank Kling, Urs-Peter Stäuble, Harry Rogge, and Antonio Martinez in March 2010.

The tour paid a visit to 10,000 acres that had been acquired and named the “Reserva Natural Loros Andinos” or Andean Parrots Nature Reserve and were immediately impressed by the spectacular landscape with sweeping views of cloud forests and natural grasslands called páramos.

Dr. Salaman’s group was received by a friendly, newly-trained forest guard from the local community–part of the initiative by our partner in the field, ProAves Colombia, which has established a superb Guard Station headquarters. Newly marked trails demark boundaries of the reserve and provided excellent opportunities for viewing the beautiful and endangered Yellow-eared Parrot.

A highlight of the trip was watching dozens of pairs of Yellow-eared Parrots affectionately bonding–approachable to within 20 feet as they peered out of nest cavity holes or sat in nearby branches. The incredibly affectionate pairs were constantly kissing, copulating, and preening like lovers.

This new protected area is a magnificent testament to conservation. It stretches across the mighty crest of the Central Cordillera with 14,000-feet peaks, three wide glaciated valleys, and half a dozen large lakes.

On their early morning flight departure from the city of Cali, the group flew directly over the reserve, affording a stunning panoramic view of the entire area under protection. Needless to say, these supporters were pleased with the results of their actions, and all look forward to returning to the reserve in the near future.

Learn more about the endangered parrots of this one-of-a-kind nature reserve. Then donate to help support their permanent protection.

Magdalena Valley Rainforest Update

Rainforest Trust Conservation Director
Reforestation of tropical Rainforest
Community Environmental Education

New Land Acquisitions:
In late 2009, two additional properties–totaling 420 acres–were added to the El Paujil Reserve in Colombia’s Magdalena Valley at a cost of $47,500. The purchase of these two blocks, representing the last two private in-holdings within the reserve brings the area under protection to 7,355 acres. Three final forested properties have been negotiated and are pending purchase.

Protection Gains:
Harmful incursions into the reserve area have been halted thanks to ongoing monitoring of borders by 2 forest guards. Private Property signs have been mounted on those trails and pathways most frequently utilized by unwanted trespassers. This signage doubles as trail markers and denotes ecotourism pathways as well as routes for internal species monitoring. Camera traps are in place to assist with monthly observation along established wildlife conduits.

Reforestation Efforts:
Reforestation continues on over 80 acres of pasturelands that were acquired by the reserver in 2008. Plantings to prevent erosion near the highly deforested Rio Ermitaño continue, as does the reintroduction of plant species of particular interest to the Blue-billed Currasow. The ultimate objective is to reforest this entire sector, thereby strengthening the buffer zone of the reserve’s outer boundary.

Community Outreach: Blue-billed Curassow Festival
This festival aimed to build the profile of the protected area in the surrounding communities by instigating a far-reaching educational campaign. Various workshops stressing the importance of ecosystem health were held in key communities and saw a high level of participation. The campaign focuses on the uniqueness of the Blue- billed Currassow and strives to raise greater awareness about the plight of the bird, as well as the threat that habitat loss poses to biodiversity. As part of the festival, school children and community members were invited to explore the reserve and participate in observational expeditions.

Local Development: Community Handcrafts
To date over 1500 handmade items have been crafted by women in the Puerto Pinzon municipality. These include a wide variety of jewelry and artware including bracelets, necklaces and belts–for sale to visiting tourists and also available in minimal numbers for export. The proceeds from sales under this alternative initiative go directly to local artisans living on the outskirts of the reserve. Sustainable development initiatives like this help to greatly alleviate the extractive pressures upon fragile terrains by providing an important source of income for community members.

Rainforest Trust will continue to support our partner buying and saving critical rainforest properties around the Paujil Nature Reserve to ensure long-term viable populations of the endangered species. For more information on the appeal, click here.

Many thanks to our donors that contributed to the Magdalena rainforest appeal and also a special thanks to the support of Luanne Lemmer, American Bird Conservancy, Earth’s Birthday, and The Rainforest Site.

Rainforest Trust Expands the Yabotí Biosphere Reserve in Argentina

Misiones Falls
Misones Map

Rainforest Trust expanded theYabotí Biosphere Reserve by another 14,826 acres to complete the protected area corridor linking Moconá National Park and Esmeralda National Park in the core area of the reserve and Parque de Turbo (in Brazil, which includes the world-renowned Iguazu Falls).

The Atlantic forest once stretched unbroken from the Atlantic coast in the north of Brazil, south and inland through Paraguay and the Misiones Province of Argentina. Today it is one of the most critically endangered ecoregions in the world, with only 7% of its once vast original forest remaining.

Long isolated from other major rainforest blocks in South America, this unique rainforest has an extremely diverse and unique mix of vegetation and forest types, with a large number of endangered and endemic plant and animal species, including marmosets and lion tamarins and the extraordinary Araucaria forests.

Fully 20% of this remaining 7% is found in the Misiones region. Rainforest Trust worked with our partner in Argentina, Fundación Biodiversidad and FuNaFu, in the buffer zone of the Yaboti Biosphere Reserve in Misiones Province, on a project that contributed to the conservation and protection of this last great relic of interior Atlantic forest. Misiones today contains 60% of the remains of the non-fragmented sectors of what is known as the Upper Parana Atlantic Forest.

Two properties, one of 4,000 acres and a second of 1,600 acres were identified as immediate priorities for protection and low-impact sustainable tourism development by Fundación Biodiversidad and FuNaFu, and their purchase was negotiated. Together these properties constitute a strategic point for a biological corridor connecting the Esmeralda, Moconá and Turvo Parks, and for sheltering four Guaraní villages.


iPhone Application Developer MyAppy to Donate Proceeds

Misiones Falls
Atlantic Rainforest
Atlantic Rainforest

The iPhone app developer MyAppy has teamed up with Rainforest Trust to purchase threatened land in the Atlantic Rainforest in the Misiones province of Argentina. Long isolated from other major rainforest blocks in South America, this diverse habitat is home to a number of endangered and endemic plant and animal species, including marmosets and lion tamarins and the extraordinary Araucaria forests.

MyAppy, which recently released a paid version of its successful free NatureAppy iPhone application, will donate 50% of proceeds from the new app to the Rainforest Trust. The ultimate goal is to buy and protect 14,700 acres in the severely depleted Atlantic Rainforest – one of the most endangered ecosystems on the planet.

NatureAppy users can initiate a donation by MyAppy of $1 by providing a feedback on the application on the iPhone app store once they buy it.

MyAppy creates educational and entertainment iPhone apps designed for pre-school children. NatureAppy+ is the latest release of the MyAppy series, which contains new animal pictures and sounds to educate children about animals and the sounds they make.

By partnering with Rainforest Trust MyAppy wants to use the app platform to start a micro-donation drive. “The intent of the app is to educate pre-school children but we also want to tap on the desire of many environmentally conscious parents to contribute to saving the rainforest” said Amparo Moore, principal at MyAppy. “By allowing mobile giving with this app release, we hope to make a direct contribution to purchasing land which will be preserved from further deforestation.”

The funds will purchase and protect land in the Atlantic Rainforest project in the Misiones province of Argentina. Donations updates will be made on “We are very pleased to team with MyAppy to allow app users to join the micro-philanthropy movement which will get a new impetus with the advent of easy to use mobile giving apps” said Byron Swift, Executive Director of Rainforest Trust.

Read more about the endangered Atlantic Rainforest.

Buy NatureAppy for your iPhone.

Protection for 158,000-acre Andes-Amazon Reserve

Cordillera de Colán rainforest
 Yellow-tailed Wooly Monkey
Long-whiskered Owlet

Support by Rainforest Trust to our Peruvian partner APECO has been instrumental in leading to the government’s formal definition of protective categories over a 158,000-acre area that spans many ecosystems on the Amazonian slope of the Andes. Saving this pristine landscape represents a historic success for global conservation.

On December 10, 2009, the Cordillera de Colán National Sanctuary and the neighboring Chayu Nain Community Reserve were officially declared by the Peruvian government, ending a 7-year process that began with their designation as protected Reserve Zones in 2003. These reserves protect a highly threatened Andean forest ecosystem on the Amazonian slope of the Andes.

Climbing over 10,000 feet in elevation from the lush rainforest of the Amazon to the stunted cloud forests of the high Andes, these reserves now protect 158,426 acres of incredibly diverse forest in the Peruvian region of Amazonas, just 80 km southeast from the border with Ecuador. A regional watershed that shelters an extraordinary diversity and richness of endemic flora and fauna, the zone is also important to 11 neighboring Awajún indigenous communities who will be responsible for managing the Communal Reserve.

These reserves safeguard an astounding array of wildlife, including many endangered and endemic species such as the Yellow-tailed Wooly Monkey, the Peruvian Night Monkey, the Melissa’s Yellow-eared Bat, the Long-whiskered Owlet (a bizarre and cryptic dwarf owl), two unique species of Anteater, and the endangered Colán Water Frog–which is found nowhere else on Earth and is sought after for its alleged aphrodisiacal properties. The region is also a population stronghold for a unique mix of rare lowland and highland species such as Spectacled Bear, Jaguar and untold other animal and plant species–many of which are certain to be new to science.

Under Peruvian law, National Sanctuaries are charged with safeguarding “the habitat of a species or community of flora and fauna, as well as natural formations of scientific and scenic interest.” Communal Reserves are defined as protected areas where local (often indigenous) communities are allowed to make use of natural resources following a government-approved management plan.

For over 28 years, APECO (the Peruvian Association for the Conservation of Nature) has worked to protect threatened habitats across Peru–fostering strategic alliances and lobbying ardently for environmental conservation. Rainforest Trust, together with Nature and Culture International and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, has supported APECO in its more than decade-long campaign to help create these two reserves. This important Andes/Amazon conservation block covers a variety of climatic zones and ecosystems and spans a wide elevational gradient–giving species room to adapt and maneuver as the effects of climate change take their toll.

A reservoir of unique and rare biodiversity, it is one of the most important protected areas to be established in recent years. This critical success stands as a testament to Rainforest Trust long-term support of our in-country partners as well as the enduring commitment to the protection of biodiversity by APECO and the Peruvian government.

Thank you for your support.

Click here to download the state declaration of the two Reserves (PDF).

Below: see the map of the newly declared Cordillera de Colán National Sanctuary (yellow outline) and Chayu Nain Community Reserve (blue outline)

View Rainforest Trust in a larger map