Sun Angel’s Gardens Conservation Concession, San Martin
The Sun Angel’s Gardens is a reserve started by La Asociacion de Productores Agropecuarias La Primavera (APALP), an association created in 2007 by the people of La Primavera village to promote sustainable agriculture and conservation of their surrounding forests. The main agriculture in the area is coffee and cattle farming for meat, but seeing first-hand the devastation caused by large-scale production, the association has been working toward organic certification for their coffee crop, and trying to incorporate reforestation into old harvest sites.
Since 1988 the area has been unofficially protected by a dedicated group of villagers, but in October of 2009, with the help of NPC, the villagers decided to register the Sun Angel’s Gardens area as a Concession for Conservation. This classification means that the land is owned by the state (not privately owned) and the government classifies it as a conservation site to be managed by the association for forty years, after which the request can be extended after review. By having a classified conservation concession, APALP aims to ensure clean and safe water resources, protect biodiversity by reducing hunting or killing of wild animals, encourage environmental education and the participation community members in conservation, and generate sustainable income through ecotourism.
The geographical complexity of the site at Sun Angel’s Gardens, including high mountains and low valleys, allows for a variety of wildlife that doesn’t normally share the same habitat. As well as being incredibly biodiverse, this area is home to many rare, endemic or endangered species of birds and mammals. There are four species of bird endemic to the tropical Andes hot-spot: the Endangered Royal Sun Angel hummingbird (Heliangelus regalis), the Vulnerable Johnson’s Tody-Tyrant (Poecilotricus luluae), the Rusty-tinged Antpitta (Grallaria przewalskii) and the Black-bellied Tanager (Ramphocelus melanogaster). Although no yellow tailed woolly monkeys (Lagothrix flavicauda) have been found in this area, the endemic Andean night monkey (Aotus miconax) and Endangered white fronted spider monkey (Ateles belzebuth) are two primate species protected in this reserve.
After much hard work, the reserve finally became official in December 2012 by the regional resolution 536-2012/GRSM/ARA/DEARN.