Amazonian Peru

Completed: Additional Funding Required

Amazonian Peru Walkway

Amazon Conservatory for Tropical Studies (ACTS), Northeastern Peru

Height: 115 feet (tower)  |  Length: 1/3 mile  |  Built: 1992 |  Engineer: Illar Muul

Threat/Opportunity:

  • Approximately 50,000 square miles of tropical forest, primarily in the Amazon, is lost per year.
  • Explorama Lodges, The Amazon Conservatory for Tropical Studies (ACTS), International Expeditions, and local environmentalists and scientists wanted to increase ecotourism numbers to prevent further deforestation, give the local and indigenous population employment opportunities, and protect endangered species like the harpy eagle, scarlet macaws, and jaguars.

Solution:

  • Approximately $500,000 was earmarked from tourism revenues.
  • Illar Muul, a medical ecologist, rain forest advocate and engineer, and local construction supervisor Don Victor Sevillano hired a team of local people to construct 11 platforms linked by rope and wood-slot walkways: First platform took 3 months to build; the next 10 platforms took only 3 months more – thanks to the purchase of a battery-operated drill!

Results:

  • The ACTS Canopy Walkway is maintained on the 4,136 acre Napo-Sucusari Biological Reserve, adjacent to Indigenous Maijuna territory, providing an opportunity for sustainable income for local residents provided by increased ecotourism.
  • Local residents employed to drive boats, maintain the ACTS Canopy Walkway, act as chefs, guides, cashiers, and guards.
  • In 1999, virtual fieldtrips were broadcast from the walkway to over 3 million schoolchildren, in over 20 countries, by The Jason Project.
  • Numerous scientists have published research from the walkway: plant surveys by Al Gentry, herbivory by Lowman, katydids by Dave Nichols.
  • Walkway has made NE Peru a prime tropical rain forest ecotourism destination.

Broader Impact/Next Steps:

  • The ACTS Canopy Walkway is now recognized as a gateway to one of the world’s highest biodiversity sites.
  • Explorama Tours has embraced the walkway as a mission vs. a business: supporting the Amazon Conservatory for Tropical Studies to consult on permit issues, maintenance, research protocols, and education/advocacy for local people.
  • Plan for 2022: Hire Pamela Montero – the fifth grader who was school liaison for the Jason Project in 1999 and went onto earn scholarships and her PhD in Conservation and Ecotourism at University of Florida under Lowman’s guidance – to develop canopy curriculum and train local educators.

Amazonian Peru: a Biodiversity "Hot Spot"

The Peruvian Amazon jungle comprises 60% of Peru, which represents the second-largest portion of the Amazon rainforest after the Brazilian Amazon. This jungle is one of the most biologically diverse areas on earth. Peru has the largest number of bird species in the world and the third-largest number of mammal species. Peru also has a very high number of species of butterflies, orchids, and other organisms.

What is a "Hot Spot"?

A “Hot Spot” is a forest habitat of high biodiversity and critical environmental importance. Unfortunately, many of these ecosystems are threatened by habitat destruction, climate change, and other factors. MISSION GREEN believes that these areas could significantly benefit from a canopy walkway conservation program.

MISSION GREEN Global "Hot Spots"

Canopy Walkways and Walkway Prospect Locations

1. Amazonian Peru (1994)

2. Myakka River State Park, Florida (2000)

3. The Habitat Penang Hill, Malaysia (2017) – Built and Funded!

4. Sequoia Park Zoo, Eureka, California (2021) – Built and Funded!

5. Ranomafana State Park, Madagascar

6. Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique

7. Western Ghats, India

8. Royal Manas National Park, Bhutan

9. Baiyer River Rainforest Reserve, Papua New Guinea

10. TBD

11. TBD

12. TBD