Guardians of the dry forest PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 27 October 2011 02:21

(In development, from ABOFOA)

PERU: Guardians of the dry forest**

By Milagros Salazar, enviada especial

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Farmers of the  Association for the  Future of the  Eyes of Water Forest, defend an area of over 2,400 hectares.

(photo with a cement marker)

Credit: Milagros Salazar / IPS


STOCKS, Peru, April (Tierramérica) -

From a truck that roars down the road like a buffalo, the Peruvian farmer Pablo Escudero said about a high wall

of green. "This is our 'call rain', the place for which we fought so much and will pass on to our children."

Soon after, a sign on the right track "Forest for the Future,  Eyes of  Water".

Escudero, 50, takes us to the heart of the (tropical) dry forest of more than 2,400 hectares in the south of the northern

region of San Martin, in the province of Picota, holed up in a tributary of the mighty, muddy river Huallaga.


He chairs the Association for Future of the Eyes of Water Forest, created in April 2006 and now has 16 members who

decided to favor forest protection rather than continue cutting down trees for farming.


The association was the first in San Martin to obtain a grant for private and community conservation.

Their struggle, which began in 2003, was awarded by NGOs and villagers initially applauded by many unbelievers. (?)


In the past 50 years the forest conservation in the state declined, but in 2000 the Forestry and Wildlife (?) stated

that civil society could also assume the task.


Gradually, people have organized in some regions to take advantage of this rule, as farmers in Picota.


This coin has two sides: every year the country loses 150,000 hectares of forest due to  deforestation

in the Amazon. But there are almost 994,000 hectares protected under various instruments, an area

larger than the southeastern Lake Titicaca.


"When we arrived, we found chainsaws, timber mafias who wanted to hurt us and we complained," she tells

Tierramérica Escudero, who between 2007 and 2009 had to face a complaint with the prosecutor (of)

Pucacaca Township, who owns the forest.


With the support of non-governmental Peruvian Society for Environmental Law (SPDA), Escudero

and other leaders were able to get rid of the (legal)  complaint and keep working on preservation. Only in

May 2010 the Association obtained the concession (from the Federal Government)  for a period of 40 years.

Five of the 25 regional governments have the power to grant forest concessions. San Martin was the

first to do so and opted for non-timber forest conservation projects.


"These farmers have worked to protect the headwaters thinking (?)  Basin", told Tierramérica biologist

Michael Tang, Association for Amazon Amazon (AMPA). "It is a valuable group which has dedicated their

time and cultivate abandoned (?) in a forest for preservation. I think this is the first national event. "


Farmers migrated to Falingahua island, an hour of Ojos de Agua in van, where they plant coconut.

Before the walk could take you almost four hours.


"We tried to protect the forest in many ways: with enrollment in public records, setting milestones,

with teams of colleagues who care and talking with people to understand that no forest will not have

water and life," describes Escudero.


In groups of three, they walk through the forest every day. Already place 200 cement marker, each weighing

100 kilos, mark the territory and prevent the entry of loggers or corn planting companies nearby.


The forest had a number of scars.  When the association began their task, they found that 60 deforested hectares

had recovered naturally.

The "Eyes of Water" name comes from  from small  pot holes in solid rock in the upper parts of the forest,

in a place where water resources are scarce.


"When you stop the large orange  monkey (Alouatta seniculus), will began to roar.  The forest

shakes, but, if you cry, is because rain is coming," he tells Escudero. His paradise is also home to brightly

colored frogs, many insects, and a wide variety of trees*.  "A lot of wealth here, but research is needed," he adds.


According to preliminary investigations to develop the master plan for the area, Ojos de Agua has quinilla

trees (Manilkara bidentata), a species endemic to dry forests, and Manchinga (Brosimum alicastrum), whose

fruits are like small nuts, and are high protein.


Arnaldo Paredes, 46, accompanies Tierramérica in the expedition and recognize the traces of animals, such

as a tapir (tapir) that was at the foot of a Manchinga.


The local partners are building a house for researchers, and for visitors, and an auditorium.


"But we have not been alone," said Escudero. Since 2009, we have received funds from the Finnish Embassy

and local authority support and technical advice from the SPDA and AMPA.


On their own, they decided how to spend their funds.  Instead of buying a van (with almost $ 28,800 in 2010, given to

them by the Embassy of Finland) they bought a van that did not cost more than $ 5,000.


They were then able to invest in manufacturing cement markers, and obtaining key cellular phones for quick communication

in the custody of the property(?), and in a computer to compose and store their projects.

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* The tropical dry forest would have fewer species than a tropical rain forest. The greater the rainfall, the greater the

variety, no matter what the biome RV

** This article was originally published April 16 by the Latin American network of Tierramérica newspapers.

Last Updated on Saturday, 29 October 2011 02:00