Peru Creates 'Yellowstone of the Amazon': 3.3M Acre Reserve Home to Uncontacted Tribes, Endangered Wildlife
By Rhett A. Butler / news.mongabay.com
Dec 28, 2015

After more than a decade of discussion and planning, Peru on Sunday (November 8) will officially designate Sierra del Divisor National Park, a 1.3 million hectare (3.3 million acre) reserve that is home to uncontacted indigenous tribes, endangered wildlife, and one of South America’s wildest landscapes.

The much-awaited news was revealed in a series of tweets by Peru’s Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, who called the declaration a “historic event”.

“The creation of the Sierra del Divisor National Park is a historic event,” he said. “It is a confirmation of the Peruvian government’s commitment to conservation, sustainable development and the fight against climate change.”

According to Pulgar-Vidal, President Ollanta Humala will make the park official on Sunday.
Sierra del Divisor's famed cone. Photo by Diego Pérez / El Taller.pe

Sierra del Divisor’s famed cone. Photo by Diego Pérez / El Taller.pe

Boundaries of Sierra del Divisor National Park. Background satellite image courtesy of Google Earth, cutout map courtesy of Global Forest Watch.

Boundaries of Sierra del Divisor National Park. Background satellite image courtesy of Google Earth, cutout map courtesy of Global Forest Watch.

Sierra del Divisor, which is now one of the largest protected areas in Latin America, is being compared to Yellowstone National Park for its conservation significance and spectacular geological features, including ‘cone peaks’ and sandstone plateaus that form unique ecological niches.

“To call Sierra del Divisor the Yellowstone of the Amazon is an understatement,” said Adrian Forsyth, Executive Director of the Andes Amazon Fund, which is supporting the initiative. “As magnificent and important as Yellowstone is, the newly created Sierra del Divisor is several multiples larger. Its primary forests are massive and maintain not just immense stores of carbon but are also the ark that will help carry huge amounts of biodiversity through the climate change bottleneck. Thousands of indigenous people now have their ancestral homeland and the natural life support systems that sustain their communities protected by national law. It’s a huge win for the planet!”

Sierra del Divisor’s forests are estimated to store 165 million tons of carbon, making it an important contribution to Peru’s climate commitments ahead of climate talks in Paris.

“It is a confirmation of the Peruvian government’s commitment to conservation, sustainable development and the fight against climate change,” said Pulgar-Vidal.

Ashanink'a people live within the borders of the newly protected areas. Photos by Enrique Ortiz.

Ashanink’a people live within the borders of the newly protected areas. Photos by Enrique Ortiz.

Sierra del Divisor's famed cone. Photo by Enrique Ortiz of the Amazon Andes Fund.

Sierra del Divisor’s famed cone. Photo by Enrique Ortiz of the Amazon Andes Fund.

The creation of the park has involved dozens of partners, ranging from international conservation groups to local indigenous communities. It has also had wide support of the public — a survey published last month found that 86 percent of Peruvians backed the establishment of the park. An AVAAZ petition calling for the park’s designation received more than 1.1 million signatures.

Rainforest Trust, one of the groups that worked for years to secure the designation, quickly welcomed the announcement, calling it “pivotal” to establishing a massive block of protected forests in arguably the most biodiverse place on Earth: the junction of the lowland Amazon rainforest and the Andes mountains.

“The Sierra del Divisor is the final link in an immense protected area complex that extends for more than 1,100 miles from the banks of the Amazon in Brazil to the snowy peaks of the Peruvian Andes,” said Paul Salaman, CEO of Rainforest Trust, in a statement. “After two decades of collaborating with CEDIA to protect indigenous territories and establish nature reserves, parks and sanctuaries throughout the Amazon of Peru, we have finally completed the centerpiece with the declaration of Sierra del Divisor National Park. This permanent conservation corridor is one of the greatest refuges for biodiversity on Earth.”

Waterfall in the Sierra del Divisor. Photo Credit: Thomas Muller

Waterfall in the Sierra del Divisor. Photo Credit: Thomas Muller

Twelve rivers, providing water for over 40,000 people, originate in the Sierra del Divisor. Photo credit: CEDIA. Photo caption: Rainforest Trust.

Twelve rivers, providing water for over 40,000 people, originate in the Sierra del Divisor. Photo credit: CEDIA. Photo caption: Rainforest Trust.

Sierra del Divisor Range. The isolated Sierra del Divisor Mountain Range is home to a range of attitudinal gradient and micro-climates that foster high levels of biodiversity. Photo credit CEDIA. Photo caption courtesy of Rainforest Trust.

Sierra del Divisor Range. The isolated Sierra del Divisor Mountain Range is home to a range of attitudinal gradient and micro-climates that foster high levels of biodiversity. Photo credit CEDIA. Photo caption courtesy of Rainforest Trust.

The designation will enable government agencies and others to step up efforts to combat illegal exploitation of Sierra del Divisor, including logging, mining, and coca production, which have recently expanded into the area. Given the extent and remoteness of the area, management will be a challenge, but one that must be overcome if Sierra del Divisor’s cultural and biological richness is to be saved. To confront this challenge, Andes Amazon Fund has committed to a million-dollar fund to begin implementation of the new park, such as the creation of the management plan and initial staffing.

“Peru’s new Sierra del Divisor National Park forms a major stronghold of planetary importance for nature and indigenous people” said Andes Amazon Fund’s Forsyth. “Thank you to Peru’s President, Minister of the Environment, and SERNANP for such a critical gift to Peru and to the world.”

Jaguar are found in Sierra del Divisor. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

Jaguar are found in Sierra del Divisor. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

The cock-of-the-rock lives in the region. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

The cock-of-the-rock lives in the region. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

The giant monkey frog is found in the park. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.

The giant monkey frog is found in the park. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.

A sloth travels through the Sierra del Divisor. The area is home to 38 large and medium mammal species. Photo Credit: Thomas Mueller. Photo caption: Rainforest Trust.

A sloth travels through the Sierra del Divisor. The area is home to 38 large and medium mammal species. Photo Credit: Thomas Mueller. Photo caption: Rainforest Trust.


Originally published by Rhett Butler on November 7, 2015.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

3.8 ·
1
Trending Today
7 Signs of Tyranny
2 min · 11,500 views today · Consider yourself warned.
Bertrand Russell & Buckminster Fuller on Why We Should Work Less, and Live & Learn More
Josh Jones · 7,667 views today · Why must we all work long hours to earn the right to live? Why must only the wealthy have a access to leisure, aesthetic pleasure, self-actualization…? Everyone seems to have...
How Independent is Hollywood?
4 min · 4,503 views today · A huge number of big-budget Hollywood films, especially those featuring war, conflict or terrorism, are influenced by Hollywood's close relationship with the United States...
4.1 Miles
21 min · 2,632 views today · Kyriakos Papadopoulos is a 41-year old local captain of the Greek Coast Guard. He has two wonderful young daughters Vivi and Melissa, and before the refugee crisis exploded in...
How Comedy Can Disarm Bullies
3 min · 2,429 views today · As long as you're funny, it can get you out of almost anything - even getting mugged, as co-founder of Between Two Ferns Scott Aukerman recounts. Unfortunately, not everyone...
Why Would Any of Us Want to Live like a Savage?
Juan Pablo Quinonez · 2,115 views today · Let’s not be romantic. Industrial civilization is no utopia. For every creature comfort we have, something or someone pays the price. The wilderness is no fairy tale either...
How a Lack of Touch Is Destroying Men
Mark Green · 1,834 views today · Why Men Need More Platonic Touch in their Lives
Globalization Makes No Sense
Chris Agnos · 1,227 views today · When I lived in San Francisco, I often would marvel at the movement of goods through the ports across the bay in Oakland. Full container ships would enter the bay one after...
What It Takes to Change Hearts and Minds
Colin Beavan · 1,209 views today · To get someone’s support, you need more than just facts.
Immigrants For Sale (2015)
33 min · 994 views today · The detention of migrants has become a multi-billion dollar industry in which immigrants are sold to the highest bidder and traded like mere products. The Corrections...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 948 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 891 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Touch Isolation: How Homophobia Has Robbed All Men Of Touch
Mark Greene · 879 views today · Homophobic prohibitions against male touch are hurting straight men as well.
Proof of Evolution That You Can Find on Your Body
4 min · 772 views today · Vestigial structures are evolution's leftovers — body parts that, through inheritance, have outlived the context in which they arose. Some of the most delightful reminders of...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 766 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
The Trump Report - The Real Fake News About The Dakota Access Pipeline
2 min · 631 views today · President Trump is sick of the lying fake news media, so he's doing the news himself. Today on The Trump Report: Standing Rock and the Dakota Access Pipeline (great...
How Wolves Change Rivers
4 min · 528 views today · When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable "trophic cascade" occurred. What is a...
A Hauntingly Beautiful Short Film About Life and Death
5 min · 525 views today · The Life of Death is a touching handdrawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.
Where the Term "Redneck" Came From
15 min · 461 views today · If you don't know this story, you'll never look at the word the same again.  This is just a window into the sometimes shocking, subversive and untold history of the United...
Without Saying a Word This 6 Minute Clip From Samsara Will Make You Speechless
6 min · 390 views today · Can you put this video into words? It's a clip from the phenomenal documentary Samsara, directed by Ron Fricke, who also made Baraka.  If you're interested in watching...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
Peru Creates 'Yellowstone of the Amazon': 3.3M Acre Reserve Home to Uncontacted Tribes, Endangered Wildlife