|Powerful Woodpecker, Kevin Heffernan
Photo can be used with credit to the photographer.
(Washington, D.C., August 15, 2011) A new nature reserve in central Peru has been established through the efforts of American Bird Conservancy – the leading U.S. bird conservation organization – and Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN) – a leading Peruvian conservation group. The new San Marcos Private Conservation Area (PCA) covers more than 2,400 acres, protecting important high-altitude cloud forests.
Five new plant species and two new frog species have been discovered within the new reserve, which also supports birds like the Fire-throated Metaltail, Powerful Woodpecker and Brown-flanked Tanager. Only thirty percent of the forest has been surveyed, however, and it is possible that the endemic and endangered Golden-backed Mountain-Tanager may also occur here. The new reserve protects watersheds important to San Marcos, as well as to the city of Huánuco and 11,800-acre Tingo Maria National Park further downstream.
The new reserve will help “safeguard and maintain water supplies to assure its use for irrigation and domestic consumption” said René Calderón, advisor to the Regional President of Huánuco. “It is incredible to witness how much the local community supports this reserve and the level of local media coverage it has attracted in Huánuco” said ECOAN President, Constantino Aucca.
The San Marcos PCA is located on land owned by 125 families from San Marcos and will be managed by the local community. With support from ABC and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, ECOAN worked with the local residents of the San Marcos community to design the reserve, earning final approval from the Peruvian government in June 2011.
“Private Conservation Areas are an increasingly effective means of preserving lands in Peru and serve as strong examples of the solid conservation results that can be achieved when local communities, government agencies and private non-profit groups work together,” said ABC Conservation Biologist, Dr. Daniel Lebbin.
ABC and ECOAN have also established seven community-owned and operated Private Conservation Areas in the Cordillera Vilcanota of southern Peru to protect Polylepis forests. Polylepis trees are characterized by gnarled trunks covered with flaky reddish bark and small leaves, and often grow at higher elevations than where other trees can survive. The woodlands act like sponges, slowly releasing moisture during dry seasons and thereby reducing water scarcity for local peoples. These Polylepis forests support several threatened bird species, including the Royal Cinclodes, White-browed Tit-Spinetail, and Ash-breasted Tit-Tyrant.
Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN, www.ecoanperu.org) is a leading Peruvian conservation organization specializing on working with local communities to establish and manage protected areas.
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