We aim to increase the value of the Amazon, to conserve and protect it, and to connect people with rainforests.
We are a collaborative initiative. We believe that we will make a larger and long-term impact by working together as an alliance of individuals, groups and organizations.
We urge all parties with an aligned vision to conserve and protect the Amazon rainforest, to get in touch and collaborate with us.
Our story begins deep in the wilderness where we lost our way and found ourselves: The Las Piedras River System.
We’re currently working to protect Las Piedras. Las Piedras (‘Stones’ in English) is a river system that forms part of the Amazon-Andes Biodiversity Hotspot and an important area for its beautiful landscapes, rich fauna and flora, and fascinating native communities.
When our research teams began studying the Las Piedras River System they were blown away at the diversity and abundance of wildlife, as well as the raw wilderness which is still found abundantly in the region. The team found a thriving Brazil nut forest where locals happily harvest the very Brazil Nuts that eventually reach us in chocolate, oil and cosmetic products. Las Piedras is home to a number of remarkable communities, some indigenous to the region, some remote and unconnected with the outside world and others formed with the sole purpose of extracting the forest’s resources. The team was surprised and concerned to learn that this pristine area is under increasing pressure from a the extraction of timber and the rapid conversion of forest into agriculture and pasture land. More so, that there is little to no private or government environmental policy enforcement in the area. For this reason, ARCAmazon is pioneering a large conservation effort to try to solve the challenges currently threatening the rainforests of Las Piedras.
Our medium-term goal in Las Piedras is to begin buffering the more remote reaches of the river system by playing a key part in the creation of a corridor (or strategic zone) of protected forest across the lower and more threatened reaches of the river system. To date, ARCAmazon has creating a 4,460 hectare conservation and ecotourism reserve which we protect through a Forest Ranger protection system, financial sustainability through education and volunteer tourism, and a large community engagement and sustainable development program in the watershed. We are organically developing the Las Piedras Amazon Center (LPAC) which provides a base to develop research, sustainable living and livelihoods, technology innovation and creativity for conservation outcomes. The center provides a space for guests from all over the world who are want to experience primary rainforest ecosystems and be part of front line conservation efforts. The center also provides opportunities for local people, while supporting the sustainable use of the rainforest in the watershed.
Who We Are
ARCAmazon is a Peruvian non-profit organization.
The organization was created in 2014 by eleven conservationists with a common passion for the Peruvian Amazon and a hope to protect Las Piedras.
ARCAmazon’s Board Members
Dr. Christopher Kirkby
Chris is British-Peruvian, a tropical conservation biologist with a PdD in Conservation Biology, focusing on rainforest valuation and private conservation mechanisms. Since 1995, Chris has made the Peruvian Amazon his home and its long-term survival his mission. He leads research on the changing status of wildlife, the impacts and benefits of human activities in and around protected areas, and the relative economic value of competing forest land uses. He runs ongoing volunteer programs, with the aim of bringing down the high cost of field research in this tropical environment.
Luis Garcia Neyra J.D.
Luis is a Peruvian environmental lawyer with a Juris Doctorate from Lima University Law School. Luis's carear began in corporate litigation, antitrust and unfair competition law. In 2009, he shifted his focus towards environmental and indigenous issues leading him to move from the capital into the Amazon. His work since has supported the enhancing of environmental policies and regulations of the Regional Government, specifically related to artisanal mining, climate change, and conservation. Luis was key to the entitlement of indigenous lands of the Infierno Native Community and he continues to work with communities across Peru.
Ursula Leyva Carbone
Ursula is a Peruvian entrepreneur who specializes in permaculture, agroforestry and environmental education. Ursula has lived in the Peruvian Amazon since 2005 with a focus on educating children and families, facilitating social enterprises for conservation and leading start-up environmental projects. Ursula consults on permaculture design with a rich understanding of landscaping, gardening and sustainable horticulture. She is the Executive Director of Camino Verde, a Peru-USA organization that leads highly successful agroforestry initiatives in the Tambopata Region. She also runs her own reforestation demonstration center within the city of Puerto Maldonado.
Dr. Laurel Hanna
Laurel is a British-Peruvian conservation biologist focused on protecting highly threatened rainforest and dedicated to fighting corruption within the land-rights system in Peru. She graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a first class honors in zoology and then completed a PhD studying the genetic and non-genetic consequences of captive breeding and release of owls. Living in the Peruvian Amazon since 1997, frequent guiding jobs progressed to permanent residency which is when she built and began operating Picaflor Research Centre and setup a 1,300 hectare private conservation area. Laurel is also an organic farmer and green building designer.
David is a South African-British entrepreneur and conservationist. He leverages responsible business and a collaborative approach to achieve triple-bottom-line sustainability (social, environmental, economic) for the conservation of nature. He is passionate about systems where humans and nature benefit from one another in balance. For a decade, David's career focused on corporate marketing and management in London. In 2009, he ditched materialism for conservation of rainforests in the Peruvian Amazon. He helped transform multiple local charity initiatives into financially stable social businesses. Using these models he now dedicates his life to conserving the spectacular Las Piedras Watershed from rapidly expanding deforestation.
Ivonne Flores Figueroa
Ivonne is a Peruvian administration and logistics specialist who was born and raised in Puerto Maldonado. Ivonne has dedicated her adult life to the highly professional administration of many of the top ecotourism operations in the region. In Puerto Maldonado, Ivonne helps coordinate movements into and from the Las Piedras Amazon Center, budgets staff expenses, and creates connections with local networks.
Liselot Roos Lange
Liselot Lange is a Dutch primatologist and a Master's graduate from Oxfrod Brookes University. She has been working with ARCAmazon for 3 years, where she has specialized in studying the endangered Peruvian black spider monkeys as well as community-primate relationships of the Amazon. Along with her individual research projects, Liselot has partnered with a local rehabilitation center to compare behaviors between wild and recently reintroduced spider monkeys. At LPAC Liselot heads the Primate Research Group, sharing her unique expertise and research on the local species and primate identification, behavior, and data analysis with passionate volunteers.
Melanie Desch is a Conservation Biologist that has worked at the Las Piedras River for the past 4 years. A SUNY ESF graduate, she has spent the last few years studying mycology through identification via DNA-seq in Ecuador and native fungi cultivation. During her time here, Melanie has cofounded an agroforestry initiative, spent years working on local cacao agroforestry, and helped manage sustainable construction projects along the Las Piedras river. A living Future Institue ambassador with a rich depth of experience in Las Piedras, we are honored to have Melanie as the resident Fungi and Agroforestry specialist at ARCAmazon.
Johann Michael Cardenas Cordero
Johan is from the Ayacucho region of Peru and has recently immigrated to the Las Piedras region. He has worked with ARCAmazon for the past year and plans to stay for the future. Johan is our primary boat driver and dedicates himself to work with motors and property maintenance. His growing interest in construction has involved him in the planning and completion of our new center. He is interested in all of the animals that present themselves in the forest; especially Pepe, our resident macaw.
Patrick Champagne is a herpetologist who's worked in the Peruvian Amazon for 5 years. He graduated with honors in Biology from Acadia University and a degree in Geographic Sciences at Nova Scotia Community College. He is the caiman researcher and spatial analyst at the LPAC and coordinates studies on the population dynamics of Scheier Smooth Fronted Caiman through mark-recapture methods. In addition, Patrick also works as a herpetological researcher and guide with Tamandua Expeditions, is the remote sensing and GIS analyst with NGOs in the region, and is the Director of Scientific Research at the Amazon Rainforest Conservancy in Canada.
Jersy Roger Ccorahua Quispe
Jersey moved to Lucerna in 2012 looking for a better future. He comes from VRAEM, where Jersey faced an empty forest due to hunting and developed the wish to work in conservation. He now studies at a local university to become a tour guide and has been working with ARCAmazon during his holidays for the past three years. Jersey loves to learn about forests, but also really enjoys getting to know cultures and customs of our volunteers and visitors!
Deisi joined our team in 2018 and has amazed everyone with her skill in the kitchen and her care for those around her. She has been a chef in the region for over a decade, honing her craft and amassing an impressive knowledge of local produce and food markets. Her creativity and craftiness is a blessing for everyone at LPAC, where a wide variety of ingredients is sometimes impossible due to its remote location. Making use of the resources around her, Deisi also specializes in natural remedies and is always prepared to quell any creeping sickness.
Dr. Jason James Scullion
Dr. Jason James Scullion is a forest conservationist and Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at McDaniel College, where he teaches courses in environmental policy and management, conservation biology, and sustainability. Jason has a PhD in Environmental and Forest Sciences and master’s degrees in Public Administration and Forest Resources from the University of Washington. His research is focused on conserving frontier forests in the Americas through improving management policies and strategies. Recent publications include studies focused on the effectiveness of payments for ecosystem services programs in Mexico and an analysis of protected area effectiveness and landscape change in the Peruvian Amazon.
Alfredo Arbe Loli
Alfredo is a Peruvian public relations specialist with a degree from the University of San Martin de Porres in Lima. Using PR to publicly share the Amazon and its internal conflicts, he has led work focused on conflict resolution within indigenous and rural communities. Alfredo has led socioeconomic research in key conservation areas throughout Peru resulting in his strong advocacy for rainforest conservation and sustainable development for long-term economic sustainability of remote communities.
Doug brings his entrepreneurial spirit and positive attitude to the world of conservation. Originally from New York, he managed UBS Investment Bank’s Mortgage Backed Securities Operations team through the credit crisis. Currently residing in Seattle, Doug’s passions lie in creating profitable business ventures that are deeply rooted in ecological and social justice. He recently completed his MBA in Sustainable Systems with an Energy Certificate at Bainbridge Graduate Institute (BGI).
Nancy is a consultant, coach and powerful connector. She is passionate about designing systems for collaboration and ways we can work together for mutual benefit of people and planet. She facilitates the translation of a collective vision into workable applications in ways that are self-sustaining and activate leadership. Specifically, she seeds projects through co-visioning processes, team design and recruitment, project management, organizational strategy, coaching and collaboration architecture. She is a co-founder of two non-profit impact driven enterprises; Yellow-Seed facilitates connection between farmers at origin and fair markets, and WildFF supports local leadership in conservation of wild forest frontiers.
Lucy Jayne Dablin
Lucy is a PhD candidate with University College London. She has been working in the Amazon since 2008 on diverse projects and holds first class degrees from the University of York and Imperial College London. She is passionate about reconciling biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation, improving supply chains to increase the uptake of sustainable resource use and assessing the causes of forest conversion. She is on the board of Wild Forests and Fauna and working on community agroforestry projects in Bolivia with Herencia, Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew, the Natural History Museum London.
Ciaran OHara PMP
Ciaran is a 20 year IT infrastructure and networking veteran, specializing in project management. He has traveled extensively on 4 continents and feels passionately about the environment and having an impact. He has worked and consulted for major international companies (such as Yahoo!, Symantec, and Facebook) and is based in the SF Bay Area/Silicon Valley. He is on a path of self development in himself and also helping others realize their potential. Ciaran is also connected with many diverse forward-thinking groups in the bay area and is committed to both answering and creating calls to action.
Renata Leite Pitman
Renata is a wildlife veterinary doctor and expert in mammalian ecology. She has a Master’s in Forest Science at Federal University of Parana, Brazil, and is a Research Associate with the Center for Tropical Conservation. Renata's passion is to protect the Peruvian Amazon, and was integral to the creation of its largest National Park. Her Impacts of the Interoceanic Highway Project won her an Innovation Award from Rufford. Renata set up the Atlantic Forest Conservation Center and Reserve. She is a member and Natural Born Hero of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, and a National Geographic Grantee and Explorer.
Luis is a Peruvian biologist and ornithologist from Chachapoyas, driven by a dream to develop his career in the Peruvian Amazon. He has led wildlife research throughout important biological regions including Manu National Park, Los Amigos, Las Piedras, Tambopata, the Manu-Tambopata (MAT) Corridor and Chachapoyas. Luis specializes in cloud forest and lowland rainforest ecosystems, having worked with The Field Museum of Chicago, The Edgar Grey Institute, Oxford University, Kansas University and the Amazon Conservation Association to understand human impacts on rainforest ecosystems. Luis led the in-field setup LPAC and community relations during ARCAmazon's critical first year in Las Piedras.
Ulises joined the ARCAmazon team in order to challenge himself and develop international research and field skills. He studied neuroscience at Kenyon College and later worked at the University of Miami Medical School as a lipidomics and glaucoma research assistant. Aside from rainforest conservation, Ulises is passionate about Joshua trees, video games, and watermelon.
Laura van der Pol
Laura has long found passion exploring, studying, and working to protect the natural world. She majored in environmental science at Wellesley College and has participated in terrestrial vegetation research at the Alaskan Long Term Ecological Research Station. In addition to her scientific ventures, Laura has also served on the board of the NPO 350 Colorado and currently works as a high school teacher. As ARCAmazon's remote outreach assistant, Laura works with international contacts and organizations to help foster more connections between conservationists, volunteers, and the Amazon forest.
Karl is an aspiring ecologist, avid musician, amateur writer and lover of all things arboreal. He graduated from Colgate University in 2016 with a degree in Environmental Biology. After traversing through the Alaskan tundra, Minnesota’s woodlands, and Vermont’s mountains, he is ecstatic to be joining the ARCAmazon team. At the ARCAmazon house, Karl hopes to pursue his passion for forestry and sustainable agriculture, as well as gather inspiration for his fantasy novel and ever-growing recipe book.