Monday, February 11, 2008
January 20th- Sustainability in the Reserve
Jail doesn't look like fun!
A few days ago when we visited Buena Vista we learned some interesting things about the policies regarding plants and animals in the Communal Reserve Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo, the border of which is very close to our lodge. There are four villages involved in the communal reserve: Chino (the largest village), San Pedro, El Diamante, and Buena Vista. Each of the villages has representation on the Reserve committee, and they make rules and policy regarding the ecological happenings within the reserve borders. The Peruvian government has recognized the reserve in recent years, and local villagers have received help outside agencies in setting priorities and guidelines governing the reserve. One of the plant species of concern in the reserve is: the Aguaje Palm, which is an extremely important asset in all aspects of local life. The animals that you are prohibited from hunting in the reserve are howler and spider monkeys, and families are only allowed to harvest a certain number of animals like Paca (agoutis) for personal use or for sale. If you break the communal rules and hunt an animal or fish that is prohibited or fell a tree that is protected the item taken from you and given to the community and you will pay a fine or spend a night in jail. People here are very aware of how important their natural resources are and how intricately connected their personal happiness and health is tied to the health of their local ecology.
Almost all the villager we spoke to around the Tahuayo, noted that things had changed a good deal over the past 100 years. Human populations have increased and animal and fish populations have decreased. Peccary and monkeys are not as abundant anymore. Paiche is now endangered. There is more agriculture and less hunting, because there is less to hunt.
Today we are taking a boat further upstream to the more remote Amazon Research Center for a few nights. The ARC is located within the boundary of the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Reserve. The forest there encompasses both Varzea and Terra Firme. We will have the opportunity to see more primates, pink dolphins and other wildlife and experience an even more untouched version of the forests of the Amazon Basin.