Peru: Stewards of the Forest

Spanning the border between Brazil and Bolivia, the Madre de Dios (“Mother of God”) region of Peru is known for its lush, humid rainforests and rich biodiversity. While parts of the region remain untouched, much of Madre de Dios is under threat by the completion of the Interoceanic Highway, which has made the region more accessible to miners, hunters and loggers.

The Rainforest Alliance is working to conserve the region’s rainforests and wildlife through sustainable forestry and tourism. Meet the forest managers, hotel employees and Rainforest Alliance staffers who are vital to our work on the ground in Madre de Dios.

Anabel Jaquegua has been a guide at Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica for six years. As a de facto spokeswoman for the Rainforest Alliance Verified™ hotel, she spreads the word about sustainability to the hotel’s diverse clientele while leading canopy tours and other on-site excursions. 

Cirilo Sánchez Cruz, a member of the board of directors for the Brazil nut harvesting cooperative RONAP, has worked as a castanero (or Brazil nut harvester) for 18 years. Since RONAP began working with the Rainforest Alliance, Sanchez Cruz says coop members have improved their organization and expanded the scope of their business.

Viviana Calle, 25, is the daughter of a RONAP concessionaire. Although she is not involved in the harvest of Brazil nuts, she represents her mother’s interests at cooperative meetings. She says that since RONAP began working with the Rainforest Alliance their access to Brazil nut markets has improved.

Martin Huypuna is the president of the Asociación Forestal Indígena de Madre de Dios (AFIMAD), which manages the harvest and production of Brazil nuts, palm fruit and timber. The Rainforest Alliance is helping AFIMAD to manage its forest resources sustainably and improve its quality control systems.

Luz Aida Ochoa is the coordinator of the Rainforest Alliance’s tourism program in Peru. Based in Cusco, she regularly travels to the country’s Madre de Dios region to meet with hotels that are participating in the Rainforest Alliance’s sustainability training.

Maria Louisa Gutierrez is the senior chief of operations at Refugio Amazonas, a Rainforest Alliance Verified lodge along the Tambopata River. She is committed to making sustainability simple for her staff and has outfitted her hotel with posters outlining the eco-friendly processes employees need to follow in the kitchen, laundry and elsewhere on the premises.

Hemiterio Quispe Hidalgo, another Refugio Amazonas employee, teaches guests about the rich medicinal resources found in the Peruvian rainforest. Hidalgo says, “In the forest, we have a pharmacy, and we need to protect it.”

Much of the Rainforest Alliance’s work in the Madre de Dios region of Peru is financed by the United States Agency for International Development under the Initiative for Conservation in the Andean Amazon.

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