RI 02 PERU
The spectacular terrain of the northern Cordillera Azul mountain range— 2.5 million hectares between the Huallaga and Ucayali rivers in central Peru—is the last large, intact expanse of lower-montane forest remaining in Peru. The vastness and intact nature of the region, led to the inclusion of the northern Cordillera Azul within the 38 areas of priority for conservation in Peru (Rodríguez 1996, Red Ambiental Peruana 1999).
Very few people live within the cordillera. The eastern face is a sheer rock with almost no human “footprint”, and to the west the coca fields in the nearby valley are being abandoned and the forest is reclaiming it. To the north colonists only venture to the edge in the small tributaries. A large logging concession on the eastern edge represents a major threat, bringing new colonization and its damaging activities, which will need a comprehensive management plan.
To protect it, a Peruvian coalition from the private sector, in coordination with authorities responsible for the transfer of lands to private concessions, recommended in 1999 a new National Park within the northern Cordillera Azul. The inventory aimed to obtain biological information to support any conservation efforts, before habitat fragmentation appears.
Photo by H. Bradley Shaffer