Where is it?
MADRE DE DIOS, PERU
The Amazon Jungle stretches across parts of nine South American nations. In Peru, the administrative region of Madre de Dios houses the most mysterious, uncharted and biodiverse area of the amazon. Through this region runs Las Piedras River.
LAS PIEDRAS RIVER
Las Piedras River begins in Alto Purus National Park and runs some 650 km before it flows into the Madre de Dios River. The headwaters of Las Piedras flow through a large portion of two of Peru’s most important protected areas, the Alto Purus National Park and Madre de Dios Territorial Reserve for People Living in Voluntary Isolation.
Who lives there?
Jaguars, pumas, howler monkeys, giant armadillo, giant anteaters, parrots, harpy eagles and anacondas. The western amazon is home to dozens of mammals and home to more species of birds, butterflies, amphibians and reptiles than anywhere else on earth.
NATIVE COMMUNITIES AND UNCONTACTED TRIBES
The Las Piedras is home to a number of indigenous communities, some of which choose to live in voluntary isolation away from the rest of human culture.
A growing number of Peruvians now work in the region to make subsistence wages in both legal and illegal forest exports.
How is the land used?
The land along the Las Piedras river is divided into many concessions. The rights of each concession is purchased from the peruvian government. Concessions are classified either as timber, brazil nuts, ecotourism and conservation which dictate what they can be used for. Frontier extraction settlements are growing in the region as illegal roads allow for both legal and illegal industries to export forest resources to market.
Lower Piedras has traditionally fallen outside state protection as there is little policing of forest use. Recently the Peruvian government has been working to implement stricter laws and higher fines in an effort to better police concession use.
Government-based land policy is continually ignored as concessionaires maximize profit. For instance, market value for sustainable Brazil Nuts is falling, so farmers are incentivized to clear the land for other agriculture. As the black market value of exotic timber like ironwood rise, logging companies ignore restrictions.
The area surrounding Las Piedras River is increasingly under threat as encroaching road networks allow for logging, poaching, mining and the conversion of forests to agriculture.
▼ [Photographs across our website highlight the Las Piedras River region. All photos by our conservation photographer Mohsin Kazmi.]
The invasive nature of dredging the river for small particles of gold contributes to swaths of sediment laden, deforested land. The use of mercury in gold extraction contributes to mercury pollution in the river, which contaminates people and wildlife alike.
Ironwood tree lumber awaiting delivery to market are a common sight along the Las Piedras River. The trees shown here were once prime habitat for the endangered macaw populations that call Las Piedras River home. Since macaws only nest in ironwood trees, they are decreasing in population across the Amazon rainforest.
Deforestation in the Lower Las Piedras is growing at an alarming rate, with frontier extraction settlements continually felling trees and burning the land around them to make way for unsustainable agriculture.
Junglekeepers has a process to protect this endangered region.
We purchase sizeable land concessions from the Peruvian government or current rights holders, then operate our concession as a conservation area. We then employ local rangers to monitor and secure the land to ensure no illegal activity is taking place.
The Amazon rainforests have unparalleled biodiversity. Junglekeepers is committed to protecting the indispensable Las Piedras region so countless plant and animal species will continue to thrive.
Meet Rustus Garcia Aguilar. Rustus is one of our amazing rangers, along with Ronald Carmelo Choque Chavez and Eudomio Pillco Huararza, that we employ in partnership with ARC Amazon. Corrie Rushford is our ranger coordinator. Past rangers include Ronald Jara, Yoser Jak Cardenas Laurente, Elvis Nix Perdomo Beyuma, and Adam Rodriguez.
How to help
Junglekeepers, in collaboration with partner NGOs and Peruvian conservationists, has created an initiative known collectively as Corredor Las Piedras (CLP). Our focus is to create an uninterrupted conservation area stretching along the Las Piedras River.
This threatened ecosystem is incredibly diverse, pristine, and home to some of the last isolated tribes on earth.
Join us as we work to protect additional land.