DSC 0623 2

Peru Dry Forest Project

Supporting conservation of tropical dry forest of Northern Peru

Protecting the Equatorial Dry forest

Conservation and restoration of dry forests is not just vital for its unique species, but has lasting economic benefits though provision of soil fertility, food, fuel, medicine and water regulation. Unregulated deforestation, industrial agricultural expansion and infrastructure are impacting dry forest but also offer livelihoods to local communities.

This project is part of a wide collaboration across forest communities, traditional and intensive agriculture in order to reconcile dry forest conservation and restoration with sustainable development and climate change adaptation.

Seasonally Dry Forests in the Latin American tropics are now a conservation priority with only around 10% remaining in many countries. Tropical Dry forests are found where the rainfall season is short so many species are unique and specialised.

Conservation action is urgently needed to collect seed, protect forest relicts, restore corridors and renew a culture of conservation and education that benefits from its regrowth and biodiversity.

Oliver Whaley

Img 4802

Environmental education initiatives

  • At the Museo de Túcume the project is teaching propagation and planting of native useful trees.
  • The project uses flagship species to engender government, school and cultural support for conservation and restoration.
  • As well as useful forage and fuel trees we are demonstrating useful livelihood trees for nutrition and medicine. We use a conservation-through-use approach to agrobiodiversity.
  • Supporting seed collection and management.
Camera trap media

Spectacled bear spotted in La Peña reserve

Spectacled Bear On Camtrap La Pena Perydryforest

This adult bear is part of a group of spectacled bears restricted to the dry forests of Peru. The local community works with the Spectacled Bear Conservation (SBC) to help understand the movement of the bears. The bears depend on many dry forest species for food including the sapote (Capparis scabrida). They also rely on forest springs, or ‘jaguay’. The project is mapping and assisting protection of these areas.

Uniquely, in this area, Andean bears have adapted to rear their families in seasonal dry forest. Migrating down to steep escarpments to dry forest lowlands, they fatten-up (putting on around 40 kg or more) gorging on fruit such Sapote (Capparis scabrida), only to return to upper seasonal dry forest to feed on Pasayo (Eriotheca ruizii), figs and bromeliads. The forest is also unique and includes nationally threatened species such as Palo Santo (Bursera graveolens) and Hualtaco (Loxopterygium huasango). The conservation corridor connects the changing ecosystems of the coastal lowland Prosopis-Capparis forest, directly to the protected area Refugio de Vida Silvestre Laquipampa, that is nationally protected with the participatory community engagement of SERNANP and SBCP. Our project partners have excelled in promoting the conservation and research of spectacled bears in the region.

Protecting their lands – the community struggle for conservation

Working with the Peñeros of CC San Francisco since 2010, we have developed mutual trust and friendship, forged as the communities struggle to adapt to the frustrations of climate change, seeing collapse of their beloved algarrobo (Prosopis) tree. They have confronted attempts to steal their land, livestock and traditions with real bravery and even loss of life.

But the community here have always shown a deep respect and love of their forests, even prepared to see loss of a goat to a puma – they show a modern ‘Moche' resilience. Animals are grazed at such low density that they disperse seed replacing lost seed dispersers and help forest regeneration. Miraculously the animals browse almost exclusively on arboreal forage, so the community, their livestock, like us, love to conserve and restore trees.

The Agreement for Conservation is a designation management tool, allowing the community to formally dedicate areas of their land to conservation under the auspices of the Dirección de Desarrollo Estratégico and the Dirección General de Áreas Naturales Protegidas within SERNANP. The agreement includes a strong supporting commitment from Rainforest Concern, SBCP, and SERNANP in helping construct Andes-to-coastal conservation to protect biodiversity, provide ecosystem services and income to its communities.

Together with RBG Kew and RBG Edinburgh we have developed propagation techniques and seed banking for all the key species and continue with support of Ingleby Farm and forests to develop species restoration techniques.

If you would like to help please contact us.

Marañon Project

20200206 140946 Z Goodwin Maranon SDTF near Ucuncha

Embraced by the Andes, the huge Marañón river in Peru flows northwards to form the major headwater of the Amazon. The valley is so deep that it forms its own unique dry forest ecosystem surrounded by cloud forest and Andean uplands.