On April 17, 2013, Rainforest Trust reached the $90,000 donation goal set for our Amazonian project with Peruvian partner, CEDIA. This major achievement will permanently protect a vast expanse of unspoiled rainforest habitat in Peru’s Amazon Region from mining and logging interests.
Thanks to our financial support, CEDIA (Center of Development for the Amazon’s Indigenous People) responded quickly to meet threats posed by mining and logging claims made on untitled indigenous lands. Working closely with sixteen indigenous villages located in Northeastern Peru, CEDIA successfully prepared the maps and technical documentation necessary to establish land rights for participating communities.
These areas, which are among the most bio-diverse in the Amazon, remain well-preserved and support populations of jaguars, tapirs, Amazonian manatees, and Giant river otters.
Despite the success of this project, much work remains to be done in the Peruvian Amazon. Previously unclaimed governmental lands are subject to frequent disputes between indigenous communities and extractive industries hoping to develop lucrative concessions. To address these concerns, Rainforest Trust CEO, Dr. Paul Salaman, will be traveling to Iquitos, Peru, in June to meet with CEDIA officials, review project work, and explore possibilities for future collaborations.
“Working in the Peruvian Amazon is a great challenge, but it also offers huge benefits. Incredibly pristine places can still be protected for low costs,” said Salaman. “We’ve been working with sixteen native communities so far, but there are hundreds more that need our help to establish legal land rights and overturn concessions granted to mining companies, which could destroy otherwise healthy habitats. Doing so is a way of providing some of the Amazon’s most threatened ecosystem with lasting environmental protection.”
Founded in 1982, CEDIA is committed to protecting the rights and lands of indigenous peoples in Peru’s Amazonian Region. In particular, CEDIA has been successful in providing legal defenses for native tribes in cases concerning traditional property rights and natural resource management. In these cases, indigenous lands have been saved from petroleum and logging exploitation, as well as illegal colonization. To date, CEDIA has aided over 300 native communities to gain land titles and has protected an area totaling almost ten million acres – larger than four Yellowstone Parks.