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Climbing from an immense plain of unbroken rainforest, the Sierra del Divisor Mountain Range stretches more than 600 miles along the Peru-Brazil Border in the heart of the Amazon Basin. Complete with plunging waterfalls, dormant volcanic cones, wild rivers, pristine forests and uncontacted tribes, this largely unknown and unexplored range is one of the Amazon’s last true wildernesses. The region, which is home to a biological community rich in rare and threatened species, is located in the center of a ten-million-acre multinational wildlife corridor and is one of the highest conservation priorities in Peru. The Sierra del Divisor faces imminent threats from oil and mining development, road and pipeline construction, over-fishing and illegal logging. Unchecked, these threats could destroy the area in a matter of years.
Climbing from an immense plain of unbroken rainforest, the Sierra del Divisor Mountain Range stretches more than 600 miles along the Peru-Brazil Border in the heart of the Amazon Basin.
Complete with plunging waterfalls, dormant volcanic cones, wild rivers, pristine forests and uncontacted tribes, this largely unknown and unexplored range is one of the Amazon’s last true wildernesses. The region, which is home to a biological community rich in rare and threatened species, is located in the center of a ten-million-acre multinational wildlife corridor and is one of the highest conservation priorities in Peru.
The Sierra del Divisor faces imminent threats from oil and mining development, road and pipeline construction, over-fishing and illegal logging. Unchecked, these threats could destroy the area in a matter of years.
To permanently protect the Sierra del Divisor and the biodiverse lands surrounding it, Rainforest Trust is working with Peruvian partner CEDIA to establish two protected areas with a buffer zone that will span 5.9 million acres.
Contributions for the project will be used to create a Sierra del Divisor National Park, establish a White Sands National Reserve and obtain land titles for 57 community territories that will form a buffer zone around the protected areas. Funds will also provide financial assistance to install park infrastructure, create management plans for protected areas and provide indigenous communities with training in park protection.
HISTORY OF THE SIERRA DEL DIVISOR RESERVED ZONE
More than twice the size of Grand Canyon National Park, the Sierra del Divisor Reserved Zone was created in 2006 by decree of the Peruvian Government with a temporary designation status. To determine its ultimate status, an advisory committee of government and private sector representatives was created.
After a lengthy decision-making process, the committee recommended that the majority of the area be transformed into a national park. With the support of the committee, our Peruvian partner CEDIA will work with the Peru’s national park service to complete necessary fieldwork for park creation.
Loreto and Ucayali Regions, Peru
Red Uakari Monkey (EN), Jaguar (NT), South American Tapir (VU) and Goeldi’s Monkey (VU)
Amazonian tropical forest, varillale white-sand forest
Road construction, oil exploration, hunting, overfishing, poaching, mining, logging
Creation of Sierra del Divisor National Park, White Sands National Reserve and 57 community territories forming a national park buffer zone
CEDIA (Center for the Development of an Indigenous Amazon)
Price Per Acre
Due to its unique geological formations and varied soils, the Sierra del Divisor holds an impressive number of rare and endemic species.
Although the area has yet to be thoroughly studied, a rapid biological inventory conducted in 2005 found several dozen species that are potentially new to science. Based upon these findings, researchers expect that future surveys will lead to the discovery of even more species. Historically inaccessible, the Sierra del Divisor remains a refuge for plant and animal species threatened elsewhere in the Amazon. · Of the 38 medium and large mammal species confirmed to live in the Sierra del Divisor, 20 are threatened. Mammals found include Jaguars, Giant Armadillos and South American Tapirs. · The area hosts a remarkably high number of primate species. Of the 33 species found in the Amazon Basin, 16 are found in the Sierra del Divisor, more than any other protected area in Peru, including Manú National Park. Habitat for two of these threatened primates, the Red Uakari Monkey and Goeldi’s Monkey, remains unprotected in Peru. · A total of 3,500 plant species are thought to exist in the area; so far over 1,000 have been identified. Ten of these—including four species of trees—are new to science. Species of commercially valuable trees (such as Mahogany) that are logged at unsustainable levels in most areas of the Amazon are found in comparative abundance here. · Scientists believe as many as 300 fish species inhabit the streams and rivers of the Sierra del Divisor Mountains. So far, 109 species have been found in the area, including 14 species new to science or previously unrecorded in Peru. · Of 365 confirmed bird species, several are endemic to the region’s white-sand forests, including the Rufous Potoo and Fiery Topaz. The Acre Antshrike, previously known to inhabit a single ridge in Brazil, is only found in the Sierra de Divisor. As many as 570 bird species may frequent the area. · 109 species of amphibians and reptiles have been found in the Sierra del Divisor, including several species new to science and previously unidentified in Peru. The Sierra del Divisor is a key wildlife corridor and functions to connect surrounding Jaguar populations.
Once protected by its remote location, the Sierra del Divisor is now besieged by a variety of threats that could destroy it forever. Proposed oil exploration, gas pipelines and road construction projects pose serious challenges that grow every year.
Neighboring areas already devastated by mining and logging highlight the urgent need for permanent protection. Unregulated commercial fishing and hunting jeopardize native animal populations. Equipped with freezers, fishing boats are now harvesting fish at unprecedented levels, which could lead to local extinctions. The area also attracts poachers since it’s a sanctuary for many exotic and rare species. ROAD CONSTRUCTION In 2003, the Initiative for the Integration of the Regional Infrastructure of South America (IIRSA) proposed construction of a new road that would connect the city of Pucallpa in Peru to the Brazilian town of Cruzeiro do Sul. The road is part of a larger transoceanic route that would link Pacific and Atlantic seaports. Construction plans place the highway in or near the Sierra del Divisor Reserved Zone. If built, the highway would have devastating effects. Construction of Amazonian highways facilitates the invasion of non-native species, restricts habitat, spreads disease to indigenous communities and provides loggers with access to millions of acres of forest. In the Brazilian Amazon, almost 90 percent of deforestation takes place within 60 miles of government-built roads. For now, talks between the Peruvian and Brazilian governments have slowed due to disagreements about road locations and transportation method (road or rail). The creation of a Sierra del Divisor National Park will add enormous legal hurdles to prevent road construction, protecting millions of rainforest acres from logging.
An exhausting 20-hour boat ride from the nearest city, the remote Sierra del Divisor Mountain Range remains nearly uninhabited.
The few people living within its borders reside in temporary riverside dwellings and follow traditional hunting and gathering practices. About 20 communities of long-established indigenous families and colonists exist outside its borders. THE ISKONAWA The Sierra del Divisor is often called “siná jonibaon manán,” or the “land of the fierce people,” among indigenous peoples. These “fierce people” are the Iskonawa, an indigenous tribe of 300-400 people that continues to live in voluntary isolation in the Iskonawa Territorial Reserve. With the arrival of Europeans in the 16th century, the Iskonawas disappeared into the forests of the Sierra del Divisor. The Iskonawa possess an encyclopedic knowledge of the local environment and maintain a subsistence lifestyle that causes little impact on the lands they inhabit. The creation of protected areas will serve as a buffer around traditional Iskonawa territory.
Thanks to the generous support of our Board members and other supporters who cover all of our operating expenses, Rainforest Trust is able to allocate 100% of donations to conservation action. No board member receives financial benefit and our staff salaries are modest.
Rainforest Trust is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
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