| Sierra del Divisor © Diego Perez/CEDIA
| Sierra del Divisor Wildlife © Wikipedia
| Phase One Supporters © Alison Gavin
Feb. 24, 2014
An enormous piece of the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest is now closer to protection thanks to the generous support of Rainforest Trust friends and contributors. On February 21st, Rainforest Trust reached its goal of $646,000, ending the initial fundraising campaign of its 5.9-million-acre Sierra del Divisor project.
This funding, which will be used to protect rainforest through the creation of protected areas and titled indigenous lands, has already yielded significant impact on the ground.
Since project launch in November, our Peruvian partner CEDIA (Center for the Development of an Indigenous Amazon) held three large meetings with local communities and Peru’s National Park Service (SENANP) to build support for the creation of a Sierra del Divisor National Park.
“The meetings have been a fantastic success. When local communities and indigenous groups realized the benefits that come with living beside a healthy ecosystem protected as a national park they threw their support wholeheartedly behind the project,” said Lelis Rivera, executive director of CEDIA. “Together with SERNANP, they have made a firm commitment to see this project through.”
The rapid support of Rainforest Trust has been critical in making these meetings happen.
“The Sierra del Divisor faces imminent threats, so setting an initial fundraising goal was an important way for us to get the project off the ground as quickly as possible,” said Malissa Cadwallader, Development Director for Rainforest Trust. “We received donations from around the world – from students, boy scouts, artists, celebrities, and travel companies. It was incredible to watch people come together in an effort to save this amazing region.”
“In only three months CEDIA has taken impressive steps towards making this project a reality,” said Rainforest Trust CEO, Dr. Paul Salaman. “Working with SERNANP and local communities they’ve developed a shared vision of why this area needs to be protected and what it means for the future of local communities. There is a real dedication from everyone involved and from this we can expect great things in the ways of conservation.”
With community approval now established, SERNANP will begin the administrative tasks required to establish the Sierra del Divisor National Park.
With the first fundraising phase finished, Rainforest Trust will begin raising the $2.2 million dollars remaining to complete the four-year project.
“We’re determined to make sure that every acre declared ‘protected’ really is protected,” said Dr. Salaman. “Real conservation work takes place after parks are created. Doing so requires time and effort, but we’re committed to ensuring that the Sierra del Divisor and adjoining areas remain in the wonderfully biodiverse state they are in today.”
Thanks to a matching donation offered by Rainforest Trust board members, and Luanne Lemmer and Eric Veach, all donations for the first phase of this project were quadrupled.