Community Makes Conservation

Involving people in conservation and development at LPAC

 

The vision behind LPAC was to build a place in the Peruvian Amazon where people would come to study and connect with the incredible rainforest ecosystem while supporting the protection and sustainable development of the local region.

Map at LPAC

Run by our Peruvian partners ARCAmazon, LPAC is a model for sustainable development in a very special area of Madre de Dios: the Las Piedras watershed. A pristine wilderness home to spectacular biodiversity and still untouched by gold-mining, it is inhabited by a small collection of native communities including the Mashco Piro – some of the last remaining tribes living in voluntary & complete isolation.

Las Piedras river

However, recent colonization and infrastructure development in the area has threatened this watershed, and more than 1,200 acres of forest have been lost in just 4 years. ARCAmazon aims to build a good relationship with the local community by giving back to the Las Piedras and the surrounding communities. This is crucial in achieving our shared mission of a healthy watershed for the river and the land it supports.

“Our relationship with the local community is very good, every day the ties grow stronger between the community and ARCAmazon.” – Alfredo Aarbe, Head Forest Ranger, LPAC.

Alfredo, LPAC Staff

LPAC provides this unique space for the ARCAmazon and WildFF to realize their goals of conservation and sustainable development. It was designed with an open plan layout, which creates a feeling of community and encourages staff and visitors to eat and relax together. Between June and August is the high season, when the center attracts a wide range of people from backpackers, researchers & scientists, to volunteers. This fantastic location gives them a unique opportunity to spend time together and exchange ideas while soaking in the sounds, sights and smells of the animated jungle that surrounds them.

“Being at LPAC not only showed me the importance of conservation, but also the importance of community, specifically the relationships being created between people who work there and the visitors. I say this because one day I saw tourists, staff, and volunteers spending free time together and having fun. In this moment I felt really surprised and happy because I had never seen this kind of interaction at other centers in the Peruvian Amazon.” – Katerym, Future Leader 2017

During their time at LPAC, the Innovadores were able to interact directly with members of the local communities to learn about their needs and challenges to their wellbeing, as well as what has worked in the past and what hasn’t in terms of conservation-development initiatives.

One of the participants, the 22-year old President of the Lucerna river community, was able to offer particular insights into the needs of the local communities that live along the watershed and rely on its resources, as well as their goals in conservation and sustainable development for their region.

The Future Leaders program champions collaboration and learning with local stakeholders – such as these panel speakers living and working in the Las Piedras watershed.

While at LPAC, the Innovadores worked on environmentally sustainable business plans to support the health of the local area and its people. They came up with numerous ways for LPAC to work with the local community to improve their lives whilst protecting their most precious resource – the forest. These included working with communities in Lucerna to help showcase the great things that they’re doing to attract tourism, hiring an external guide to work at LPAC, and a marketing plan for the centre in nearby city Puerto Maldonado.

The winning team presented a strategic marketing plan that would promote ecotourism at LPAC to urban areas of Madre de Dios.

This year, it was exciting to see the Innovadores directly interacting with the local Las Piedras communities. One of them was a solar panel professional, and his skills were soon put to good use repairing solar panels and giving advice on how best to use them to a community just across the river.

Jungle at the Las Piedras Amazon Center

What makes LPAC so special is that all funds raised through their volunteer programs go directly to preserving the land in this unique watershed. It is also giving locals a choice on how they make their money: by creating jobs in ecotourism that add long-term sustainable value to the standing rainforest.

Interested in finding out more? Why not check out opportunities with ARCAmazon, our amazing partner behind LPAC.


About the Author

Joanna Trewern

Joanna Trewern

Communications Intern 2016-present

Joanna is half English, half Spanish, and is a recent graduate from Oxford University’s School of Geography & the Environment, where she studied an MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management. She believes it’s important not just to protect biodiversity, but to make this goal relevant and beneficial to local people in order to ensure lasting success. She fell in love with the Amazon Rainforest after a visit to Peru in 2015, where she stayed for a year volunteering in wildlife rehabilitation centres (even though she was only meant to stay for two months!). In her free time she enjoys activities that allow her to be in nature, like hiking and longboarding.

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