Connecting you with the rainforest
volunteer and internship programs, workshops, field courses, online learning and more
Amazon Academy is our programming arm and learning portal. Together with our partners we develop educational programs in the Amazon and generate media, art and informative content for sharing.
Bringing you to rainforest and sharing rainforest with the World.
Amazon Academy Programs
Take part in our programs in the Peruvian Amazon
PRIMATE CONSERVATION RESEARCH
Study Primates with a Specific Focus on the Endangered Peruvian Black Spider Monkey
ARCAmazon is looking for volunteers and interns to assist us with applied research of wild and endangered primate groups in the remote, primary rainforests of the Peruvian Amazon. Volunteers and interns will support the vital work of our Primate Conservation Research Team, based at the Las Piedras Amazon Center (LPAC). Our task is to better understand the current status–and support conservation action–of the endangered Peruvian black spider monkey (Ateles chamek) and at least 9 other species of primate found in the Las Piedras Watershed. Research undertaken by the primate team helps us determine conservation strategies for ARCAmazon and its partners…
Forest Ranger Program
Join the team on the Frontline of Forest Conservation
Work alongside, support & learn from ARCAmazon's forest rangers during their daily mission to study and protect 4,500 hectares of important forest in Las Piedras
Amazon Academy LIVE
Browse through our online learning portal and learn about the Amazon rainforest
The Call of the Wild
Did you know biodiversity can be monitored by recording the sounds of the forest? The forest is full of animals calling one another at specific frequencies so by recording and identifying these sounds scientists can establish which species are present. One study on grasshoppers could show the difference between primary rainforest and more disturbed secondary rainforest by identifying ‘gaps’ in the frequencies of communication. Some of the most distinctive sounds in the forest include the calls and mimicry of the Oropendolas in the morning and the distinctive howl of the howler monkey, which has a pneumatized hyoid bone, meaning it’s call reverberates through a hollow neck bone to travel up to three miles (five kilometers) through the tropical forest.
ARCtv – Amazon Research and Conservation TV
What is ARCTV?
ARCTV (Amazon Research and Conservation TV) is a fun series of short natural history documentaries focused on rainforests. The series is produced by volunteers working in the Amazon. ARCtv aims to inspire tomorrow’s explorers, scientists and conservationists.
The ARCTV series can be downloaded and shared freely for educational purposes. For example, you can distribute them at a local school. The videos can’t be used or reproduced for commercial purposes (for monetary gain or the promotion of any private entity) without express permission from the Alliance for Research and Conservation in the Amazon (ARCAmazon) – Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 licence (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). For more information please contact us.WATCH MORE ARCTV
The Amazon contains 1.4 billion acres of dense forests, half of the planet’s remaining tropical forests, and one in ten known species on Earth
The Boidae Family
The Boidae (boas) are a family of nonvenomous snakes found in America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and some Pacific Islands. In Peru, the best known example of this family is the Anaconda, the largest confirmed record of which was measured at 24 feet. Prey is suffocated and not, contrary to popular belief, crushed to death; in fact, prey is not even noticeably deformed before it is swallowed. Most species in this family give birth to live young. Harry explains more about this fascinating family in the second episode of ARCtv.
The Amazon River basin contains 20% of the world’s fresh water and the surrounding forests produce 20% of the world’s oxygen
The smooth-fronted caiman was first described by the German classicist and naturalist Johann Gottlob Schneider in 1801. The genus name Paleosuchus is derived from the Greek palaios meaning “ancient” and soukhos meaning “crocodile”. This refers to the belief that this crocodile comes from an ancient lineage that diverged from other species of caimans some 30 million years ago. The adult smooth-fronted caiman has cryptic habits and is seldom observed by day because it hides in underwater burrows or may spend much of its time up to 100 m (330 ft) away from water, concealed in dense undergrowth, in hollow logs, or under fallen trees. Males are territorial and females have small home ranges. Adults are semiterrestrial and mainly feed on such animals as porcupines, pacas, snakes, birds, and lizards, consuming few fish or molluscs. Hatchlings feed mainly on insects in their first few weeks, graduating to larger prey as they grow. Juvenile mortality is high, but adult mortality is low, although large carnivores such as the jaguar sometimes prey on them. Patrick Champagne tells us more in this episode of ARCTV
CTTV – Camera Trap TV
Jaguars of Las Piedras
The Jaguar (Panthera onca) is the king of the Amazon, and is the largest feline in the Western Hemisphere and third largest in the world. The jaguar is largely a solitary, opportunistic, stalk-and-ambush predator at the top of the food chain (an apex predator). It is a keystone species, playing an important role in stabilizing ecosystems and regulating the populations of the animals it hunts. As this footage shows, the Las Piedras is an important habitat for this feline, which is classified as Near Threatened due to habitat fragmentation and loss.
While Las Piedras remains largely unstudied, our preliminary research (by Fauna Forever) suggests an extraordinarily large complement of wildlife species. In the small area we have studied in the lower Las Piedras we have recorded over 40 medium to large-bodied mammals including cats: Jaguar, Ocelot, Margay, Puma and Jaguarundi; over 10 monkey species including Black spider monkey, Black-headed night monkey, Red howler monkey, Gray’s bald faced saki, and Saddle-backed tamarin; as well as many other enigmatic mammals such as the Short-eared dog, Giant armadillo, Giant anteater, Grison and Brazilian tapir. Las Piedras reports approximately 600 species of bird, almost half the total for the Amazon, with additions still being made to this list. The list includes Black-faced cotinga, Rufous twistwing, Harpy eagle, Ornate hawk Eagle, Solitary eagle, Migrant osprey, 12 species of psitticid, aracaris and toucans, Boat billed heron, and Rufous vented ground cuckoo.
The Amazon is an incredibly rich ecosystem and is known to host 40,000 plant species, 1,300 bird species, 3,000 types of fish, 430 mammals and 2.5 million different insects
Feature Films from ARCAmazon and Partners
Recently featured documentaries, interviews, creative pieces and news from the alliance.
Recently featured creative Works from ARCAmazon and partners
Animal Stones by Sofia Prado
These stones come from the banks of the Las Piedras River. They have been hand painted by Sofia Prado from Mexico. Sofia is an advocate for wild and domestic animal protection.
Dreamstarter by Sarah Schlaphoff
This is an oil painting by Sarah Schlaphoff. It was painted from a photo of Lake Soledad, located in the Peruvian Amazon. This lake is where the dream to create ARCAmazon was born.
Flooded Forest by Tom Ambrose
This photo was taken in flooded forest along the Las Piedras River by photographer Tom Ambrose in 2014. Visit Tom’s website here:
Most recent blog entries:
ArcAmazon’s Conservation Center
The previous dining area at LPAC could become muddy and unsanitary. Photo credit: Patrick Campbell LPAC’s new dining area, located on the second floor of the Conservation Center, features a beautiful view of the surrounding rainforest. Photo credit: Pavel Martiarena Huaman The new Conservation Center at LPAC features an “L”-shaped design. Photo credit: Pavel Martiarena Huaman The dining area at LPAC’s new Conservation Center. Photo credit: Pavel Martiarena Huaman ARCAmazon has partnered with the company LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics to build a Conservation Center at the Las Piedras Amazon Center (LPAC). This was made possible thanks to a large donation which was generously awarded to ARCAmazon by LUSH. The goals of this construction were to improve the experiences of visitors to LPAC, provide a safe and dry space for researchers, tourists, and members of nearby communities, and reduce the use of fossil fuels by ARCAmazon. The design and construction of the Conservation Center was a collaboration by local community members and LPAC staff. Many of the builders who worked on the Conservation Center were from the nearby communities of Boca Pariamanu, Asociación Río Piedras and Lucerna. The building materials utilized for the construction of the Conservation Center included sustainably-harvested wood which had already been felled, as well as old billboard for the roof. Overall, the Conservation Center has been very well-received. Surveys filled out by visitors and staff indicate a great improvement in overall experiences, as well as the ease with which research and other work can be conducted. For example, a staff member at LPAC who studies fungi reported that her experiments are now much easier to conduct due to the stable floor of the new Conservation Center. Additionally, the aesthetics, sanitation, and functionality of LPAC has been greatly improved. For example, the old dining area of LPAC could become very muddy after heavy rains. The new dining area, located on the second floor of the Conservation Center, offers greatly improved sanitation in addition to a spectacular aerial view of the surrounding rainforest. The construction of our Conservation Center has led to a massive increase in the number of volunteers staying at LPAC. Additionally, the organizations Rustic Pathways and Field Projects International have formed partnerships with ARCAmazon. Rustic Pathways is planning to begin sending eight student groups to LPAC each year. LPAC has also hosted a field course run by McDaniel College called Forest Online, as well as a leadership program for young professionals from the Madre de Dios region. We are thrilled to be able to allow more people to experience the wonders of the rainforest than ever before. Although the construction of the new Conservation Center was a highly ambitious undertaking, but we are thrilled with the final result. In 2019 we hope to expand on this project by installing solar panels, with the eventual goal of completely eliminating the use of fossil fuels at LPAC.
Lucy Dablin Interview – Mongabay September 2015
The following is a recent article published on Mongabay.com about Lucy Dablin, Co-Founder and Research Consultant for the ARCAmazon Project. At age 26, Lucy Dablin has contributed to the conservation of over 11,120 acres of rainforest. Dablin co-founded a production company and is using film to connect conservation to the greater public. She established a network to facilitate collaboration between conservation organizations. An interview with Lucy Dablin, a part of Mongabay’s on-going Interviews with Young Scientists series. Conservation strategist Lucy Dablin shares her love of the Amazon with Mongabay and divulges how at the age of 26 she has contributed to the conservation of over 11,120 acres of rainforest and become the youngest board member of Wild Forests and Fauna, a United States charity working in the Amazon. Before completing her MSc in Conservation Science at Imperial College London, Dablin undertook a BSc in Environmental Economics and Environmental Management at the University of York. She has spent eight years living and working in the Amazon with local people, focusing on finding creative ways to conserve the largest remaining tropical rainforest. It is not just science that allows conservation to happen, Dablin said, but a combination of art and technology as well. “Science and research is often condemned as being inaccessible and irrelevant to the public, policy makers and other stakeholders who it may claim to benefit. I have always felt films and other visual media could be used to communicate current social and environmental issues and the science and research surrounding them,” Dablin said. “In 2011, I co-founded a production company called Relevant Films. In 2012 we produced the Amazon Academy series, consisting of ten short films presenting wondrous elements of tropical ecology.” A curl-crested aracari (Pteroglossus beauharnaesii) rests on Dablin’s shoulder after being found on a trail and brought back to researchers staying in Soledad Lake, Madre de Dios, Peru. Photo by Dr. Amanda Havard. “Currently I am making a film about the interaction between communities and Inga-based agroforestry systems in Bolivia. I also love working with camera traps as they provide insights into animal behavior which are otherwise difficult to observe, and by using the video option on the camera traps I collected footage which could later be used in short films or videos.” Although she grew up in cities, Dablin feels most comfortable in the forest and restoring damaged boats. She confesses that while it has been idyllic for the most part, there have been some serious challenges to pursuing conservation efforts in the Amazon. “I do not believe competition in conservation should exist; we all have to learn to work together and pool our resources for mutually beneficial outcomes,” she said. “We are all on the same side, yet I encounter problems when trying to form inter-organizational collaborations. At first I suspected it was a question of funding, but in reality it is often pride, personality clashes and inter-organizational jealousy. I understand how much people sacrifice for what they believe in this profession, but a key first step in forming alliances is recognizing what our counterparts have also sacrificed for their vision before asking for compromises.” With new knowledge and skills attained from her MSc, Dablin has once again found her footing inside the rainforest and is working in Bolivia with the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew. She will return to England this month to begin her PhD with the London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership at the University College London. Mongabay: What is your background and why did you decide to become a scientist? Lucy Dablin: I have been obsessed with the Amazon rainforest since I saw a documentary about it when I was eight. Ten years later I had finally saved enough for my first trip. In 2008 I visited the alto Madre de Dios in Peru for four months and it was a transformative experience… I met a primate specialist who suggested that a scientific career could offer opportunities for spending more time in the Amazon. She was right, seven years and two science degrees later I am still here. Mongabay: You recently joined the board of U.S.-based Wild Forests and Fauna, and were part of a core team that gained the rights to an 11,021-acre concession on the Las Piedras River. How did you come by this opportunity? Lucy Dablin: By 2012 I was working predominantly in the Tambopata region of Madre de Dios as a biologist or filmmaker leading school groups and volunteer researchers, working with the Park Guards and selling LED mag lights to lodges. There was always a varied group of interesting individuals attracted to the jungle. In March of that year, one such group of conservationists and MBA candidates from Pinchot University (previously Bainbridge Graduate Institute) arrived. We visited the remote forests of the Las Piedras River and forgetting about our agendas, instead began focusing on ways to conserve the forests surrounding us. It was the perfect setting for collaborative conservation and sustainable business design. That visit helped to form two charities, Wild Forests and Fauna based in Seattle and the Peruvian not-for-profit Alliance for Research and Conservation in the Amazon (ARC Amazon). Dablin stands in the Gokta waterfall of the Amazon rainforest in Peru. Photo by Leo Plunkett. Dablin walking through Kuelap, part of the Peruvian Amazon. Photo by Leo Plunkett. Becoming dedicated to conserving the forests of the Las Piedras River was just the first step. Over the following years we built up an international multidisciplinary team who shared our vision and mission. Every person who joined us brought their passion and skills to a common cause. It was truly humbling to work among such dedicated and capable people, all of whom sacrificed their time and resources to contribute to the conservation of the lesser-known Las Piedras. I worked with the ARCAmazon team for three years and it was an honor to join the board of Wild Forests and Fauna this year. On April 7th 2015, after three years of constant work and fundraising over $250,000 with partners Wild Forests and Fauna, ARCAmazon gained the rights to an 11,021 acre concession on the frontier of deforestation on the Las Piedras River. What began as a dream formed on scraps of paper written by candlelight had just become a reality. But while we are celebrating our first achievement, we know it is just the initial step in developing a watershed wide sustainable development and conservation strategy. Mongabay: You were part of Discovery Channel’s “Eaten Alive.” How did you land upon this opportunity and do you find this form of science communication effective? Lucy Dablin: Paul Rosolie and I work on conservation initiatives in the lesser-known, highly threatened watershed of the [name removed to protect study site]. I have always been struck by his passion and determination to conserve it. There are only a handful of people working in this area so we all know each other. When Discovery got involved we were under the impression it would turn out differently. Sadly, the resulting show failed to mention our research, so I cannot condone “Eaten Alive” as an effective means of science communication. Mongabay: How has technology played a role in your research and how do you see technological advances fitting into your future work? Lucy Dablin: I am crazy about satellite imagery; I love it. Satellites are providing us with unmatched levels of data about changes in land use and land cover, which is directly applicable to changes in forest cover. NASA’s Landsat satellite imagery can be downloaded from their website, but it is still a very coarse resolution, each pixel of Landsat 5 is 98 feet squared. In 2014 when I did my MSc thesis on deforestation modeling, that was the best open source resolution. But that is changing. Planet Labs are making ten-foot resolution imagery collected every one-three days freely available. CEO Will Marshall said in a recent TED talk, “every tree, every day”. I believe these advances offer unparalleled opportunities for monitoring forest cover in near real time. Mongabay: You are currently working in the forests of Bolivia with the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew, an internationally renowned institution. What will you be looking at and what are the hopeful outcomes? Up at dawn, Dablin shoots footage for Relevant Films at Soledad Lake, Las Piedras in Madre de Dios, Peru. Photo by Matt Champoux. Lucy Dablin: The Amazon continues to be subject to unsustainable agricultural practices and cattle farming which has resulted in widespread soil degradation. The Pando region of Bolivia I am working in has very poor agricultural production, and the diets here are lacking in fresh fruit and vegetables due to their high cost in the region. In response to this, Kew has developed an exciting project in collaboration with local Bolivian NGO, Herencia. The project seeks to use the Inga agroforestry system to increase the productivity of degraded lands in the Amazon and document this process. Inga captures atmospheric nitrogen and fixes it in the soil; it is also excellent at colonizing degraded areas. I am working on monitoring the effect of Inga agroforestry systems on the soil, which also acts as a celebration of the International Year of Soils. The hopeful outcomes are to show increased productivity through this agroforestry system and improve our understanding of the potential for Inga agroforestry to remediate soils. In addition we must ensure that the communities understand this and uptake the demonstrated sustainable practices which will bring environmental and economic benefits. The results so far have been incredibly positive, despite the infancy of the agroforestry plots. The communities are keen to be involved in the project, and the members I have spoken to tell me of this system reducing the necessity to clear forest. Mongabay: How do you see your work tailoring to the new conservation paradigm based on poverty alleviation and multidisciplinary approaches? Lucy Dablin: I believe that conservation begins with communities. The modern globalized market places unprecedented pressure on the world’s natural resources and concurrently this poses a threat to some of the poorest people who depend directly upon natural resources for their livelihoods. These people stand to lose the most and benefit the least from the continued degradation of our finite resources. With this in mind, I believe successful conservation strategies will benefit local people in both social and economic terms. I follow my ethos by working with projects that reflect this approach. Dablin converses with a local man from the Santa Teresa community, Las Piedras in Madre de Dios, Peru. Photo by Matt Champoux. For example, I am currently supporting a local college in Puerto Maldonado, the Instituto de Educación Superior Tecnológico “Jorge Basadre Grohman,” to develop “La Casa de la Selva,” a five-acre botanic garden and center of interpretation which we envision as a place where students promote sustainable management of natural resources and create environmental consciousness within the public of, and visitors to, the city of Puerto Maldonado and beyond. I love working with the local students and supporting their initiatives for the garden; they are the soul of the project and without them this endeavor would not be possible. Mongabay: What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in achieving your conservation goals and how have you overcome them? Lucy Dablin: Challenges to conservation success appear in strange forms. Some might be expected: difficulty in securing funding, finding dedicated individuals to support projects, understanding local laws and customs, as well as dealing with government corruption. However, one of the most counterintuitive challenges I have dealt with is inherent competition in the conservation sector. Dablin takes part in black caiman monitoring in Soledad Lake in Madre de Dios, Peru. Photo by Leo Plunkett. …In the Las Piedras watershed I am working to overcome this by inviting all organizations and individuals into a “conservation collaboration,” called ProPiedras. ProPiedras is not an organization in itself, but a network within which each conservation actor can share their work and objectives with others working in the region and find collaborators for projects. The concept is successful among the small organizations and individual actors who are “grassroots” in the area. It has been really interesting to see how different people react to the idea, which in turn has helped me understand what their needs are. Sadly, some of the larger international conservation organizations are disinterested, or even opposed to, participating in the conversation. I am hoping this will change as the network expands. Mongabay: Do you have any advice for people considering entering the world of conservation? Lucy Dablin: I do not feel like I am in a position to offer advice to anybody, but I can say what has worked for me. I chose to focus on my interest, which is conservation of the Amazon, therefore I have a location-based approach. After pursuing my interest in books and journals I realized there was only one real way to learn, which is to go to the Amazon and learn first-hand. It is surprising the number of opportunities which appear, and which can only appear, when you begin to get involved with the network of people on the ground who share similar goals and interests. I joined the MSc in Conservation Science at Imperial College London because I needed to learn about designing, funding, executing and reporting projects. This course was excellent and the taught component of six months consisted of daily contact with a network of conservation and research professionals. By sharing experiences with my cohort and learning from experts I have built up a picture of the conservation world and requirements for success. However, I still have a lot left to learn! Article published by Morgan Erickson-Davis (Mongabay) on September 21, 2015.
Brief Intro to Camera Traps
Camera traps are an invaluable tool for researchers wishing to study the occupancy and species diversity of an area. Using LED sensors to capture heat and light stimuli, these cameras have thus far been able to reveal much of the incredible mammalian diversity found at LPAC (Las Piedras Amazon Center). In this post we reveal the simple steps required to set up this handy gadget. Featuring Fauna Forever Mammal Coordinator Holly O’Donnell 1. Put in batteries and memory card 2. Adjust video settings to 30 second recordings with 1 second interval (this is the maximum time required count all individuals in a group). 3. Set time and date (date and time must be correct for data to be valid and so that we know what time animals are active) 4. Choose a tree facing a long clear section of trail (seeing as many animals like to use human trails). 5. Check no vegetation is blocking the view and tie the camera trap firmly to a tree 30cm from ground and take the GPS location. 6. Check sensor working by waving – red light should turn on. 7. Leave the trap for 2 weeks and then collect the memory card. 8. Species list can now be compiled and the occupancy deduced.
Unsustainable Agriculture Biggest Threat to Rainforests
Haga clic aquí para Español. Did you know that one of the biggest threats to rainforests worldwide is unsustainable agriculture practices? Rainforests are stripped bare to make way for crops. The irony is, although rainforests are home to over half of the world species and considered one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet, they are notoriously poor for growing crops. Rainforest soils are some of the least fertile on the planet. The topsoil layer in rainforests (the organic layer material at the surface) is sustained because of biomass. Biomass is the total mass of organisms in an area. Biomass is very high in rainforests and is the only reasons rainforests even have a topsoil layer. In rainforests, death sustains life. When an organism dies it decomposes very quickly in the humid tropics and allows for other organisms to thrive with a release of minerals and nutrients. The type of soil in rainforests is referred to as oxisols. Oxisols have a thin organic matter layer (in rainforests this is because the organism are decomposed so quickly and immediately recycled back into the system). Oxisols are depleted in minerals, partly because of the decomposition rate of organic material and also because of the amount of rainfall that leaches most minerals out of the system. These soils are a shade of red, due to the high levels of iron. When biomass is removed from an oxisol and new crops are planted, there is nothing left to form the topsoil layer (built from decaying organic material). This makes growth difficult for the new plants that usually survive only for a few years. These highly diverse and flourishing ecosystems are balanced precariously, depending on an intact and healthy system to continue to survive. ¿Sabías que una de las amenazas más grandes para las selvas tropicales es la agricultura? Áreas de selva son destruidas para poner en su lugar cultivos. La ironía de esto es que aunque la selva tropical es el hogar de la mitad de las especies mundiales y es considerado uno de los ecosistemas más diversos en el planeta no puede sostener cultivos por mucho tiempo. Esto es por el tipo de suelo que hay en las selvas tropicales. Este tipo de suelo (tierra) se le refiere como un oxisol, rico en hierro y bajo en minerales. La capa superficial del suelo se regenera con organismos en descomposición como platas y animales. Cuando la tierra es despojada no existe regeneración de esta capa superficial, lo cual hace que los cultivos plantados no duren por más de unos años.
ANNOUNCEMENT: New Conservation Area Created in the Peruvian Amazon
12:20, Tuesday, April 7, 2015, Puerto Maldonado, Peru: ARCAmazon and our partners have purchased the ownership rights of a 4,460 hectare (11,021 acre) area of highly threatened Amazon rainforest in Peru’s Las Piedras River watershed. This milestone is the culmination of 3+ years of teamwork from individuals across four continents. Over the last two years, the ARC Amazon team explored multiple opportunities to conserve land in the Las Piedras, engaged the local community, and navigated various forms of challenging bureaucracy. Over the next 6 months, the team will move to begin protecting the land we have purchased, including: initiating a forest ranger program, establishing a basic research camp, and purchasing essential equipment. In July, we will begin hosting students and visitors on the land in our effort to “bring people to the rainforest and share the rainforest with the world”. This day would not have come without the collective support of hundreds of people from around the world. Including our donors. Thank you for your support. You’ve made this day a reality. Why we’re doing what we’re doing: Today, there are only a few places we can confidently call “wild”. Our planet has been heavily influenced by human-beings. Farms, cities and parks cover the vast majority of all land. In fact, recent estimates show that humanity’s “footprint” covers 83% of the land on Earth. There are few natural environments which are unspoiled, uninhabited and uncultivated—where wild animals live and roam free from fences. Furthermore, there are only a handful of these places where indigenous people who remain in complete and voluntary isolation, can live from the outside world. Two years ago our team identified an area of the Peruvian Amazon which was stunningly wild, but in great danger of changing forever: Peru’s Las Piedras watershed. The Las Piedras is one of the least-protected forests within the 32 million-ha Vilcabamba-Amboro Conservation Corridor, the largest conservation corridor in the Tropical Andes Biodiversity Hotspot. In short, the watershed buffers one of the most pristine, and culturally and biologically diverse protected areas on the planet; home to some of the last uncontacted indigenous people on Earth. Unfortunately, Las Piedras is under threat from increasing road development and deforestation, resulting in fragmentation and isolation of forests and wildlife. Frontier communities continue to clear surrounding old-growth forest to make way for unsustainable agricultural plantations to support their families. These threats to the forest need to be addressed. The ARC Amazon Project Plan: Phase I – The first phase of the project is to establish an active physical and community-based presence in the Las Piedras watershed. This is where our supporters come in. With their help, we’ve purchased rights to a 4,460ha (11,021ac) area of the lower Las Piedras. We believe that a presence on the land, coupled with community buy-in, is key to sustained protection. As we establish ourselves on the land, we will continue to foster relationships with nearby Lucerna and Palma Real communities. We will implement mutually-beneficial programs with these communities which include activities such as environmental education, agroforestry, reforestation, tourism and wildlife monitoring. This summer, we will begin inviting students and visitors to the land to experience the beauty of the rainforest for themselves. Conservation success will be monitored throughout the year, beginning in June with a comprehensive baseline study of current social and ecological conditions. Phase II – There are so many exciting things planned for the second phase of the project. Step by step, with community participation, our vision is to construct a world-class research center and produce educational programming and media initiatives to further “bring people to the rainforest and share the rainforest with the world”. The construction of Amazon Center will require a second round of funding targeted at $400,000. The initial blueprint for the center includes a ranger base, laboratory, bungalows, bathrooms, kitchen, dining and camping area. These naturally-built structures will house up to 50 students, volunteers and guests at a time. We invite you to get involved in co-creating our next phase of Amazon conservation. How to get involved in the ARC Amazon Project: As we seek to grow the ARC Amazon Project, we would love your input in co-creating the project. Getting involved is really easy and fun. There are a number of ways you can partner with us, including: Share our posts on Facebook and Instagram Download and share our pilot educational video series Co-create the Amazon Center and help conserve our land (building, volunteering, research, photography, writing…) Come and stay with us in the forest Make a donation or hold a fundraising event Or just let us know your ideas If you’re interested to learn more, simply browse through our website’s menu at www.conservetheamazon.org or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Together, we have taken the first step to protect an important piece of rainforest. Thank you from all of us at the ARC Amazon Project Dave Johnston, Doug Sorin, Nancy Zamierowski, Jason Scullion, Luis Garcia, Lucy Dablin, Chris Kirby, Elizabeth Feldman, Letty Brown, Leo Plunkett, Renata Leite Pitman, Eliza Williams, Laurel Hanna, Ursula Carbone, Sophia Winkler, Luis Cueto, Sam Swicker, Paula Givan, Jason Takahashi, Britney Williams, Shayna Gladstone, Bryan Arturo, Juan Julio Durand, Nardy Herrera, Tom Ambrose, Brian Crnobrna, Juan Molina, Blair Grossman, Sofia Prado, Naun Amable, Harry Turner, Papadosio, Bluetech, Paul Rosolie, Mohsin Kazmi, Juan Carlos Huayllapuma, Julie Harshberger, Jo-Ann Spronk, Tentsile, Ivonne Flores, Tania Bautista, Tris Thompson, Declan Burley, Ian Markham, Julian Vidoz, Jose Moscoso and the rest of the team!
Brazil Nuts – La Castana
Bertholletia excelsa, also known as the Brazil nut, is an important part of an intact rainforest ecosystem, as well as an important part in the local economy. These colossal trees are found in Guyana, Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela, Colombia and of course Brazil. The leading exporters of this nut are Bolivia, Brazil and Peru. And although the name suggests Brazil as the top exporter, currently Bolivia controls the market. This tree relies on healthy intact forest to survive, due to its intricate connections with other species in the forest. Only a few types of bees and to a lesser extent, bats can pollinate its flowers, and there is only one known disperser of the seeds (what we call the nut) other than man, a small rodent called the agouti. The nut is harvested and sold locally but mostly it is exported to Europe and the United States, and in many exporting countries Brazil nut harvesting has become a large part of many peoples livelihood. In the city of Puerto Maldonado in Peru for example, 20% of the population depend on the Brazil nut for their income1. 1. Steven R., Tapping the Green Market: Certification & Management of Non-Timber Forest Products (Herbalgram no. 59: 64-66. Alt HealthWatch, EBSCOhost 2003) Bertholletia excelsa, también conocida como la castaña, es una parte importante de un ecosistema sano en la selva tropical de Sud América, además de ser invaluable en la economía local. Este árbol colosal se encuentra en Guyana, Perú, Bolivia, Venezuela, Colombia y claro, Brasil. Los principales exportadores de esta nuez son Bolivia, Brasil y Perú. Y aunque su nombre indica Brasil como el exportador principal, Bolivia actualmente controla el mercado. Esta especia depende de un ecosistema sano para sobrevivir, debido a sus conexiones intrincadas con otras especies en la selva. Solo unos pocos tipos de abeja y murciélagos pueden polinizar a las flores del árbol y solo hay un dispersor de las semillas (a lo que nosotros le referimos como nuez) aparte del hombre, un roedor llamo agutí. La nuez es cosechada y vendida localmente, pero primariamente es exportada a Europa o Estado unidos. En muchos de los países de origen, la cosecha de la castaña se ha vuelto una parte importante en el sustento de muchas familias. En la ciudad de Puerto Maldonado de Perú por ejemplo, 20% de la población depende de la castaña para sus ingresos1. 1. Steven R., Tapping the Green Market: Certification & Management of Non-Timber Forest Products (Herbalgram no. 59: 64-66. Alt HealthWatch, EBSCOhost 2003)