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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.