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Madre de Dios: A treasure of biodiversity for the world

  • Did you know that the territory of Madre de Dios represents 15% of the Peruvian Amazon?

  • This fascinating state has an amazing natural wealth, although it is also affected by multiple threats. On this day, let's reflect together on the dedicated recovery and sustainability work to conserve its resources. 

May 19 - The state of Madre de Dios is one of the most biodiversity places in the world.  For this reason, 28 years ago, it was declared the capital of biodiversity in Peru. In addition, it reaches records in number of species. For example,  a single tree can host more species of ants than the entire British Isles. Likewise, it has 5 Protected Natural Areas and the largest managed forest area certified by the FSC in Latin America. The FSC area covers 700 thousand hectares approximately , where around 4 thousand jaguars and 15 thousand tapirs live and conserves 12% of the reserves of Amazon carbon.  

Along with the invaluable diversity of flora and fauna, 200,000 people live in this region, including 32 native communities from 5 different ethnic groups, and the population in isolation and initial contact - PIACI. 

Why is it important to conserve its biodiversity? 

Madre de Dios has been affected by growing threats such as expansion and poor agricultural practices, illegal mining, illegal logging, high vulnerability to extreme weather events (droughts and floods), etc.


Thus, A high increase in intensive extractive activities in the last 20 years has faced. As a result, even the Tambopata National Reserve has been invaded by thousands of ilegal gold miners who have destroyed green areas and generated criminal activities in the surroundings. In fact, from 2001 to 2019, 231,000 hectares of forest were lost throughout Madre de Dios. And according to data from the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project, the impact of agricultural expansion has surpassed the one of gold mining (MAAP, 2022). For this reason, efforts are currently being made to restore the landscapes and ecosystems’s area. Much of this conservation work is done, for example, in protected areas such as the Tambopata National Reserve.


Tambopata National Reserve 


Tambopata National Reserve covers an area of ​​274,000 hectares and is located south area of Madre de Dios River, in the districts of Tambopata and Inambari, province of Tambopata. This space seeks to conserve the flora, fauna, and ecological processes of the humid tropical forest. Being a mega-diverse space that includes ecosystems that range from wetlands, swamps, pacales to riparian forests, the reserve allows the population that lives in the buffer zone to take advantage of natural resources. Also, it is one of the main tourist destinations in the Amazon.


Madre de Dios and WWF-Peru are committed to nature conservation! 


For Madre de Dios, it has been fundamental to bet on projects that contribute to its long-term sustainability, and  the restoration of damaged landscapes and resources. For this reason, WWF, together with strategic allies, has been promoting research for the recovery of highly degraded areas due to mining extraction for several years. At the same time, it has developed various research studies on key species in areas such as the Tambopata National Reserve, the Bahuaja Sonene National Park, forestry and conservation concessions, where one of the most important studies with radio transmitters and camera traps with jaguars (Panthera onca) has been developed, pumas (Puma concolor), and peccaries (Tayassu pecari).


The study´s purpose was to know the behavior of these animals and know the minimum areas necessary to maintain their healthy populations. “Studies concluded that jaguar densities in the region are the highest ever documented. We estimate that three jaguar conservation units in our study region (areas of high priority conservation according to experts) could be home to almost 6,000 jaguars,” said Edith Condori, Forestry Specialist for WWF-Peru.

On the other hand, WWF was partner in the mechanism for the Reduction of Emissions implementation from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+). It sought to recognize the ecosystem service of carbon storage provided by forests, and encourage the replacement of practices that cause its degradation and deforestation by others that allow the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. As part of this process, WWF supported the implementation of the Amazon Indigenous REDD-RIA pilot in the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve.

Edith Condori also commented: “The forests of Peru are the last refuge for diverse groups of indigenous people in isolation and initial contact. For this reason, we have been working together with the Ministry of Culture, other strategic allies and indigenous organizations at the national and regional levels of the Madre de Dios Indigenous Reserve protection.” 


In order to achieve sustainable development in the region, it is necessary to promote economic activities with an innovative approach. For this reason, specialists from WWF Peru and professionals from institutions support the regional government in several initiatives that help reduce deforestation and promote growth. Nelson Gutierrez, WWF-Peru Madre de Dios Landscape Planning Specialist, remarked: “It is possible to promote a strong economy in the region, and at the same time reduce deforestation. The productivity of agricultural activities can be increased to reduce the pressure of the forest”.


In fact, WWF is a strategic partner of the “Alliance for Regenerative Cattle Ranching in the Peruvian Amazon” project. It seeks to implement agroecological practices to improve the Cattle Ranching production system of Madre de Dios in order to recover the forests. The initiative, which has financial support from the UK government through the UK PACT programme, has already implemented 10 Farmer Field Schools (ECAs) in Tambopata and Tahuamanu provinces. Technical assistance is provided to ranchers of the area.  


Worthmentioning that Madre de Dios belongs to the International Working Group of Governors for the Forest and Climate, which has allowed it to design its public policies for rural development with low emissions within the framework of its regional development plan. These policies seek to increase and strengthen the productive sector, reducing deforestation, conserving biodiversity and the ecosystem services the nature provides us, with the participation of the main actors in the public and private sectors. 


ainability and conservation of our Capital of Biodiversity!




WWF Peru




https://andina.pe/agencia/ news-madre-dios-festejara-biofest-festival-de-biodiversidad-891688.aspx


https://es.mongabay.com/2021/09/deforestation-madre-de-dios-indigenous-territories-shihuahuacos-illegal-logging -Peru/


Créditos de la fotografía: Guillermo Prudencio


Créditos de la fotografía: Pierina Bellota / WWF-Perú


Créditos de la fotografía: André Bärtschi / WWF