Discover the Deep Amazon: Community-Led Conservation in Ucayali, Peru


Natalia López

March 17, 2021

Discover the Deep Amazon: Community-Led Conservation in Ucayali, Peru

Within the Ucayali Region in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest, alongside its overflowing wealth of biodiversity and ecosystems, people from the Santa Rosa Native Community and 8 other communities along the Yurúa River– San Pablo, El Dorado, Dulce Gloria,  Koshireni, Oori, Veo, Victoria, and Santa Ana– have been joining efforts to protect their territory from external threats such as illegal loggers and miners, and migrant pressure from the border with the Brazilian state of Acre, only 20 miles away.

Santa Rosa is an indigenous Amahuaca community and one of our partner communities in the Amazon Rainforest. The word Amahuaca means “the children of the capybara;” in the Amahuaca cosmovision and worldview, the capybara is an animal that could sing in the Amahuaca language– which was formally recognized by the Peruvian state only a few years ago, in 2017.

The long journey to Santa Rosa, Ucayali

Reaching this remote area of the forest– a place which pulses with life and culture– is not easy at all.

First, you must take a small 8-person-only chartered plane from Pucallpa, the region’s capital, to the town of Breu. Landing in a small grass field otherwise used as a soccer field, you step off the plane and into the lush, humid, and beautiful far reaches of the rainforest.

From there, you travel thirty minutes along the Yurúa River in a motorized peque-peque, a small, traditional boat which takes you to the community of Santa Rosa. Because of the community’s remote location and because there is little to no State presence in these areas along the border with Brazil, the community does not have services like electricity or telecommunications.

Peque peque on the Marañon River in Peru.
Peque peque on the Marañon River in Peru.

However, internet access became an even more critical resource during the COVID-19 pandemic when physical isolation became their primary means of protection from the spread of the virus.

But without electricity, it was impossible for Santa Rosa to get internet access which would allow them to connect and communicate with their partners– the other 8 communities working with them to protect their lands and resources. Internet would also ensure access to virtual education during the pandemic.

For these reasons, we worked with the Santa Rosa community to install a solar panel, which followed the same long journey as we did– travelling by plane and by boat to reach this remote spot.  The solar panel uses renewable energy to provide internet access to all the families in the Santa Rosa community.

There is no technician nearby, so we worked with Juan Perez, the president of Santa Rosa, to ensure that he had a clear understanding of the installation process.

Rainforest Partnership in Collaboration with the Santa Rosa Community

The external threats of illegal extractive activity and deforestation led the Amahuaca people of Santa Rosa to seek support from Rainforest Partnership; together with several partners on-the-ground, within the project plans funded by The Tomberg Family Philanthropies, we are building long term plans to ensure the protection of their territory from extraction and deforestation and effectively manage local natural resources.

Zoom with Rainforest Partnership and partners in Santa Rosa, Ucayali, Peru.
Zoom with Rainforest Partnership team and members of the Santa Rosa community

Because the solar panel allowed us to transition to remote collaboration with Santa Rosa and our other partners on-the-ground, we set up the work plan and strategy to initiate the process of creating a community-owned protected area which will ensure sustainable use of forest resources and protection from encroaching threats.

Community-led and organized, the impressive scope of these conservation and management plans will lead to long term protection of this area of the deep Amazon.

We will continue to pursue further opportunities to support our community partners on the frontlines of conservation and protection of their territories– whose efforts are often forgotten, or unseen.