Why We Do It
The Amazon Rainforest plays a critical role in maintaining climate function regionally and globally, a contribution which everyone of us depends on. During the last half century, the Amazon has lost at least 17% of its forest cover and many endemic species have been subjected to excessive resource exploitation.
In the region of Madre de Dios, Peru, there are 2 of the most biodiverse areas in the Amazon Rainforest, the Manu National Park and the Tambopata National Reserve.
Unfortunately, these natural protected areas by the government and all the rainforest in the region are threatened by its own population.
Population growth, weak land-use/land-ownership rules and poor government law enforcement make the main economic activities in the region a major threat for the Amazon Rainforest.
With global warming becoming more real every year, it is now even more of the highest importance that proper restoration plans are established and alternative uses in harmony with nature are promoted for a more sustainable human development in the region
Farming and Agriculture
Small scale farmers slash and burn pristine rainforests and use rudimentary agricultural techniques. After a couple of years, the soil becomes infertile, they abandon the land and move to clear a new area out of necessity. These abandoned plots slowly regenerate but the rich biodiversity of the rainforest is forever lost without a proper land management for reforestation.
Recently this has become a main economic activity in the region due to the high price of gold in the international market (US$1800 the ounce in 2014). Huge areas of rainforest are destroyed completely to get to the bottom of the soil and find the precious gold.
Wild animals are killed for food and illegal trade and this is causing many species to become locally extinct. All these animals form an integral part of the ecosystem and their loss inevitably causes an imbalance which affects all the other wildlife and the forest dynamic.
Hardwoods such as mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) and cedar (Cedrela odorata) are virtually extinct outside protected areas and private plantations. Millions of cubic feet of wood are extracted from the Peruvian rainforests every year and the impact is devastating for wildlife and the entire natural ecosystem.