Strong Protected Areas and Empowered Indigenous Tribes
Our work is focused on building sustainable livelihoods and land stewardship of remote indigenous communities so they can better protect their lands and adjacent protected areas. This is achieved through several multifaceted strategies.
Emergency Pandemic Community Support
The COVID-19 global pandemic has limited our ability to visit the communities in which we work and has stranded or isolated many of them, limiting their access to food, medicine, and essential information. Through a quick crowdfunding campaign and by redirecting some existing funds, we have been able to provide emergency food, medicine, and health information to hundreds of people in need including nearly 500 people stranded in the city of Pucallpa due to the quarantine, as well as multiple communities far up the Inuya River in the Sepahua region.
Effective protected areas depend to a great extent on whether adjacent “gateway” communities engage in and benefit from conservation. Through our community vigilance program, we have developed 17 community vigilance committees on six rivers. Nearly 100 indigenous men and women are equipped, trained and assisting official guards to conduct patrols and monitor remote watersheds inside and in the buffer zones of protected areas.
Sustainable and Profitable Livelihoods
Remote communities need alternatives to destructive land use like logging and commercial agriculture. Current projects that promote both sustainable and profitable use of resources include management plans for the commercialization of fish in community lakes, harvesting mahogany seeds for reforestation projects and timber resins used for their medicinal properties.
Indigenous Land Titling
UAC has funded and led several community land titling efforts. For example, in 2015, we helped deliver title to the Ashéninka community of Saweto, the first indigenous community to be titled in the department of Ucayali in the previous decade. We help the tribes most deserving of title to their traditional homelands, regardless of factors that complicate the process such as overlapping forestry concessions.
We work closely with the Peru’s National Service of Natural Protected Areas (SERNANP) and Peru’s Ministry of Culture to engage local people in monitoring access routes and buffer zones of protected areas like the Alto Purús National Park and the Murunahua Indigenous Reserve for isolated tribes. We provide field equipment, host guard trainings, and facilitate aerial and river patrols to investigate illegal activities and monitor populations of endangered flora and fauna. We also work with partners to develop PA management and protection plans, and to establish new, indigenous protected areas.
Through our education and awareness campaigns, we are generating international attention to the struggles of Peru’s indigenous tribes, especially the isolated tribes and those tribes in initial contact. On-the-ground work includes training local people on how to respond to contact events with isolated tribes, assisting in vaccination campaigns so diseases can’t be spread during contact events, and documenting and mitigating threats to the forests that the tribes depend on.