Washington, D.C., Conservation efforts
targeting threatened high-altitude forests in the Andes Mountains near the
sacred, ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu, Peru, will benefit from
a new $2 million endowment fund established by Fondo de las Américas del
perú (FONDAM), Conservation International’s Global Conservation Fund
(GCF), Conservation International – Perú, and American
Bird Conservancy (ABC). The endowment fund will disburse funds for projects to
conserve Polylepis woodlands beginning in 2012.
Polylepis is a genus of trees and shrubs unique to the Andes of South
America. Conserving Polylepis forests is crucial for protecting
biodiversity and water sources for nearby communities. These forests support
threatened bird species, including the Royal Cinclodes, White-browed
Tit-Spinetail, and Ash-breasted Tit-Tyrant.
ABC and its Peruvian partner Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN) have
worked since 2001 with indigenous communities in the Vilcanota Mountains of the
Andes to protect and restore high-altitude Polylepis forests on
community-owned lands with support from GCF, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation,
Marshall Reynolds Foundation, Inter-American Foundation, and other donors. ECOAN
estimates 127 Royal Cinclodes occur in the Vilcanota area out of a global
population that may number fewer than 250 individuals.
“The establishment of the first endowment for Private Conservation Areas is
great news for Peru. This support will ensure not only the sustainability of
these areas, but also the conservation of the biodiversity of such an important
ecosystem as Vilcanota, in a collaborative work with local communities,” said
Luis Espinel, executive director for Conservation International in Peru.
To date, participating communities have protected over 15,000 acres in seven
Private Conservation Areas recognized by the Peruvian national government, with
more reserves currently being created. This includes the new 1,897-acre
Pampacorral Private Conservation Area at Pampacorral, and the 4,515 acre Qosqoccahuarina Private Conservation Area at Rumira Sondormayo, both of
which were approved by the Peruvian government in
late April 2011. Over half a million Polylepis saplings and other native
species have been planted to restore forests, and many areas have been fenced to
protect saplings from grazing animals and promote habitat regeneration.
“The project has benefitted more than 8,000 people in over 20 communities by
planting 150,000 trees that provide a sustainable fuel wood supply so they do
not need to cut down Polylepis forests to cook,” said Constantino Aucca,
President of ECOAN. Aucca added that the project has also provided
nearly 6,000 fuel-efficient clay ovens to reduce fuel wood needs, erected solar
panels to provide electricity and hot water for washing, aided in the
construction of greenhouses to provide healthy food to communities, and funded
health and educational services.
ABC and ECOAN have also provided communities with technical assistance to
improve pasture management, wool production, textile marketing, and to develop
sustainable nature tourism at the Private Conservation Areas. A new visitor
center opened this February at Abra Málaga Thastayoc – Royal Cinclodes Private
“The Vilcanota Reserve Network is an encouraging example of how we can work
with local communities to successfully raise living standards while
simultaneously benefiting habitat for endangered species,” said ABC Conservation
Biologist, Dr. Daniel Lebbin.
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The Fund of the Americas of Peru (FONDAM) is a
Peruvian organization with 11 years of experience. It was created by the
governments of Peru and the United States of America under the concessional debt
reduction framework to promote activities regarding the sustainable development
of the environment, forest conservation, child protection and human
(CI) — Building upon a strong foundation of science,
partnership and field demonstration, CI empowers societies to responsibly and
sustainably care for nature, our global biodiversity, for the long term
well-being of people. Founded in 1987, CI has headquarters in the Washington, DC
area, and nearly 900 employees working in more than 30 countries on four
continents, plus 1,000+ partners around the world. For more information, visit
www.conservation.org, and follow us on Twitter: @ConservationOrg
or Facebook: www.facebook.com/conservation.intl
Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN, www.ecoanperu.org ) is a
leading Peruvian conservation organization specializing on working with local
communities to establish and manage protected areas.
conserves native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas by
safeguarding the rarest species, conserving and restoring habitats, and reducing
threats while building capacity in the bird conservation movement. ABC is a
501(c)(3) not-for-profit membership organization that is consistently awarded a
high rating by the independent group, Charity Navigator.