Peru Moves to Protect ‘One of the Last Great Intact Forests’

  • While the United States may be weakening protections for wilderness, the creation of Yaguas National Park protects millions of acres from development and deforestation.

February 14, 2018 JoAnne Klein  read full NY Times Magazine article here

The remote rain forests in Peru’s northeast corner are vast — so vast that the clouds that form above them can influence rainfall in the western United States. The region contains species, especially unusual fish, that are unlike any found elsewhere on Earth. Scientists studying the area’s fauna and flora may gain insights into evolutionary processes and into the ecological health and geological history of the Amazon.

Now the area has become home to one of the Western Hemisphere’s newest national parks. Yaguas National Park will protect millions of acres of roadless wilderness — and the indigenous people who rely on it — from development and deforestation….

…Peru’s new park, on the other hand, joins a network of parks and reserves recently created to preserve territory in South American countries, including Ecuador, Chile and Colombia.

“Nowadays we’re trying to think big,” said Avecita Chicchón, who leads the Andes-Amazon Initiative, part of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. “You need these large areas to be connected.”

In Peru and elsewhere, political leaders, bolstered by strong civil society initiatives, are recognizing the current effects of climate change and their role in mitigating them in the future. They are setting aside large parcels of land in part to fulfill commitments made as part of the Paris climate agreement. And local and indigenous groups, finally getting a legal say in the process, have also provided critical support….