What We Do
We Have Two Primary Objectives
1. Strengthen the management of established and proposed protected areas in order to prevent illegal activities, protect uncontacted tribes, and maintain ecosystem health.
2. Build the capacity of local indigenous communities to participate in and benefit from conservation so they can assume the role of stewards of the Alto Purús region and their community lands serve as an effective buffer to nearby protected areas.
The Upper Amazon Conservancy and its sister organization, ProPurús, are responding to the conservation and human rights crisis in the headwaters of the Peruvian Amazon with a combination of measures intended to protect biodiversity and promote sustainable development in local indigenous communities. Our success is directly related to the trust-based relationships we have with local people, developed over the past 20 years when members of our staff first began working in the region. This trust results from our commitment to working in the most vulnerable areas, where illegal activities and community exploitation often go undetected, despite the difficulties, dangers, and high-costs of working in such remote areas. Local people participate in all of our activities, as we believe that the future of this remarkable region ultimately depends on their active involvement as effective protectors and stewards.
Our Work is Organized in the Following Programs
In the Purús and Yurua, we work closely with the Peru’s National Service of Natural Protected Areas (SERNANP) to protect the Alto Purús National Park, the Purús Communal Reserve and their buffer zones. Recent support includes the construction and staffing of a new park office in the Yurua, training park guards and conducting aerial and river patrols to monitor illegal activities. We’ve also conducted a series of special investigations into illegal logging in and around the Alto Purús Park. In the Park’s buffer zone on the Purús and Yurua rivers, we train local men and women who serve as volunteer park guards, organized into community Vigilance Committees. The Committees are formally recognized by SERNANP and support the work of the official guards during their protection and monitoring patrols of rivers used to access the Park and Purús Communal Reserve. The Committees also serve an important role as liaisons between their communities and the park guards.
Indigenous Peoples in Voluntary Isolation
In addition to the protected areas mentioned above, we work to protect and stregthen territorial reserves for indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation. Our principal focus is the Murunahua Territorial, where in recent years we have conducted several investigations of illegal logging. In 2012, we will begin a collaboration with ORAU and INDEPA to improve the protection of the Reserve’s primary access routes.
Community Conservation and Sustainable Resource Use
UAC works with remote communities in the buffer zone of the Alto Purús Park and Purús Communal Reserve to protect endangered species and promte the sustainable use of resources both within community lands and the surrounding forest. Recently, we joined forces with the indigenous organization ECOPURÚS to protect mahogany trees and generate income from the sustainable collection of their seeds as an alternative to logging. In 2012, we finished a three year study of resource use in four communities located outside the Park and Reserve, with the objective of using the results to inform future sustainable development projects.
Indigenous Capacity Building
The communities on each river are represented by indigenous federations. Strong federations are critical to counter destructive practices that threaten their way of life and the environment on which they depend. These include illegal logging and road construction. UAC and ProPurús have partnered with the federations of the Alto Purús (FECONAPU) and the Yuruá (ACONADYISH) since 2006. ProPurús also employs young people of different ethnicities in our field team, providing them with experience and training needed for them to grow into effective leaders.
Indigenous Land Titling
In the Tamaya, we are working in collaboration with Ucayali’s Agriculture Office on the participatory titling of the community of Alto Tamaya – Saweto. The objective is to consolidate the community’s territorial right and integrate the new titled community in the conservation corridor that runs along the border of Ucayali and Acre, Brazil. Other partners include the Center for Borderlands Studies (CIFA) at the University of Ucayali and the University of Richmond.