RI 23 PERU
As dawn moves west over the Yaguas River valley, the morning light quickly illuminates the landscape and its inhabitants, waking up all its beauty, from palm trees to pink dolphins and uncovering the majesty of the canopy in this upland forest 200 kms west of the river mouth.
This sight holds an astonishing plant, animal, and landscape diversity, being the ideal showcase for Peru’s megadiverse wilderness. It’s a little explore valley between the Napo, Amazon, and Putumayo rivers. Together with the neighboring Cotuhé watersheds, the aquatic life is estimated to harbor some 65% of the continental fish species known to Peru.
This area also represents an increasingly rare opportunity to preserve a vast, intact Amazonian watershed in its entirety. Complementary to a strictly protected core area in the upper and middle Yaguas, locals proposed an adjacent buffer area where they can harvest timber, fish, and other resources under sustainable management plans. This focus simplifies management and costs, since the river is the only entrance to the roadless interior.
To the south, a binational Rio Cotuhé watershed is an opportunity to solidify plans for a cross-border area with Colombia. Protecting the Peruvian Cotuhé would link both valleys to Colombia’s Amacayacu National Park, resulting in a corridor of megadiverse equatorial forest.
Photo by Max Hidalgo and Álvaro del Campo