April’s edition of National Geographic magazine features the work of Upper Amazon Conservancy and its Peruvian sister organization, ProPurús, in an exposé on illegal logging in southeastern Peru. In 2011, UAC and ProPurús staff led a National Geographic team on two trips to the field to document illegal mahogany logging and its impacts on Peru’s protected areas and indigenous people. The article focuses on the Alto Purús region, where UAC has worked since 2002. The region is home to several indigenous tribes in voluntary isolation and initial contact with the outside world. It also harbors Peru’s largest stands of mahogany, one of the world’s rarest and most valuable timber species.
The story also describes a trip to the upper Tamaya River where illegal loggers are targeting unprotected indigenous lands along the Peru – Brazil border. UAC board member and University of Richmond professor, Dr. Salisbury, has been working in the Tamaya since 2005; and in 2012, David, UAC and ProPurús initiated a collaborative project with the community of Saweto and their leader, Edwin Chota, to help secure legal ownership of their traditional homelands. In addition to unregulated and widespread logging, their lands are used by drug traffickers to smuggle cocaine from the Andes into Brazil.