What We Do

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 focused on two overarching objectives:

1. Strengthen existing and create new protected areas in order to prevent illegal activities, protect isolated tribes, and maintain ecosystem health.

2. Build the capacity of local indigenous communities to participate in and benefit from conservation activities so they can assume the role of stewards of the forest and their community lands serve as an effective buffers to nearby protected areas.

Our Work is Organized in the Following Programs

Protected Areas

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, and with the Ministry of Culture to strengthen the Murunahua and Mashco-Piro Indigenous Reserves for isolated tribes. 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. Our community vigilance program trains men and women to assist official guards protect remote watersheds inside and around these protected areas. Other projects include efforts to promote an indigenous proposal to create a new communal protected area in the Yurua watershed.

Indigenous Peoples in Voluntary Isolation
We are currently conducting an education and awareness campaign on isolated tribes and threats to their way of life. This includes close collaboration with government agencies, like the Ministry of Culture, as well as several indigenous federations representing the remote communities that share the forest with still-isolated tribes.

Community Conservation and Sustainable Resource Use
UAC works with remote communities to protect endangered species and promote the sustainable use of resources as much needed income. Projects include training people to sustainably collect mahogany seeds as an alternative to logging.

Indigenous Capacity Building 
Strong indigenous federations are critical to counter destructive practices that threaten traditional ways of life and the environment on which local people 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 2015, we helped title the community of Saweto, the first indigenous community to be titled in Ucayali department in a decade. Currently, we are involved in 8 different titling projects throughout the greater Alto Purús region.