Matsés Communal Reserve Expanded to 2.3 Million Acres

With your help, we supported our Peruvian partner–Center for the Development of Indigenous Amazon (CEDIA)–in purchasing and saving an additional 148,410 acres of the Matsés Communal Reserve, buffering the Matsés National Reserve. This new purchase expands the combined reserves to over 2.3 million acres for wildlife and indigenous Matsés communities.

In August 2009, Rainforest Trust and CEDIA announced the declaration of the Matsés National Reserve to protect 1,039,390 acres of pristine Amazonian rainforest and buffer the Matsés Communal Reserve from deforestation and mining. Following that declaration Rainforest Trust donors, together with the Blue Moon Foundation, supported CEDIA to establish a long-term management plan for the Matsés Commual Reserve and protected an additional 148,410 acres in July 2012.

Using digital mapping technology, CEDIA identified two tracts totaling 148,410 acres of rainforest in the headwaters of the Río Chobayacu and Alto Yaquerana that were completely unprotected yet contained some of the oldest indigenous settlements of the Matsés tribe. Unfortunately, gas and oil exploration permits were issued to a Canadian company in 2011 for the very same area. Armed with the management plan, maps, and indigenous community support, CEDIA lobbied the Peruvian government to assign the area to the Matsés Communal Reserve. We are delighted to report that the additional 148,410 acres were approved for protection by the government in July 2012, so that a total of 2,306,509 acres of Amazon rainforest are protected in the Matsés Communal Reserve and Matsés National Reserve combined.

Other results of the management plan with the Matsés community have been to establish an eco-tourism initiative called “an Alter-NATIVE experience.” Rainforest Trust’ support allowed the community to structure a surveillance system with equipped checkpoints that prevents illegal logging across the their territories and the Matsés Communal Reserve.

If you are looking for an adventure and want to join Rainforest Trust staff for a visit to the Matsés communities in March 2013, please drop us an email.

Learn more about saving the Amazonian Rainforests in Peru by clicking here.