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Landscape level conservation

It is agreed by many conservationists that protected areas, due to their realtively small sizes, low numbers and isolation, are not sufficient for conservation of most species and must be complemented by strategies for management of landscapes. The three endemic primate species we are working with can be found both in primary forests and in areas which are affected by humans. Therefore, it is important to conserve all forested area, even ones which are close to villages and therefore cannot be officialy protected.

The process of creating protected areas in Peru includes biological and socioeconomic investigation; elaboration of a detailed proposal; repeated coordination with authorities; in the case of Conservation Concessions, publication of the project in government and national newspapers and in the respective municipality for a month each to allow for objections; after the creation, elaboration of yearly reports. This process is very long, complicated and expensive which makes it unfeasible for the local farmers of rural Peru.

 However, our experience is Northeastern Peru shows that rural farmers understand the dangers of climate changes and ecological destruction; they see that their forests and fauna are disappearing and feel a real urge to protect it. In many cases, although they can not establish officially protected areas, villagers use internal social organizations to control deforestation and hunting practices and achieve incredible results. Many villages report the return of wildlife species which were absent from their surrounding forests for decades, returning only a few years after controls were introduced.  

© Andrew Walmsley

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