Endemic Species and Ecological Systems of the Amazon Basin of Peru and Bolivia

Amazon Basin of Peru and Bolivia

About This Project

Together with more than 50 collaborating or partnering institutions, our team of scientists developed analyses for several key conservation issues.  We mapped distributions of endemic species to identify areas of high conservation value and centers of endemism.

Carried out numerous expert workshops to agree on a common set of ecological units and methods to develop a detailed standardized map of upland and wetland ecological systems across the ~ 485,000 square miles of project area, and then evaluated protection gaps for the species, centers of endemism, and ecosystems identified in the study.

Finally, as a pilot to demonstrate first-hand the importance of this information for conservation and decision making, NatureServe teamed up with the Regional Government of San Martin, Peru, IIAP, and the Proyecto Especial de Alto Mayo (PEAM) to help local leaders identify sustainable ways to regulate land use while also protecting the region’s natural species and habitats.

Goal

Our goal was to create conservation baseline species and ecosystem maps for the Andes-Amazon regions of Peru and Bolivia to inform planning and effective conservation action at regional and local scales and to build local and regional capacity for developing and using this biodiversity information.

Significance

The eastern slope of the Andes and the adjacent Amazonian forests are home to the world’s highest diversity of birds, one-third of all freshwater fish species and more than 60,000 plant species, half of which are found nowhere else. By almost any measure, this region harbors some of the most important biodiversity found anywhere on Earth.

Yet, today this extraordinary wilderness is under threat. Human populations and economic activity exert increasing pressures on natural resources. Across the slopes of the Andes and the Amazon basin, loss of forests and other wild lands to logging, cattle ranching, mining, agriculture, and infrastructure continues at rates of up to 9,000 square miles per year. Balancing conservation of these irreplaceable landscapes with the needs of local peoples to earn their livelihoods is a global responsibility that we share.

Since the project ended in 2007, hundreds of students, conservation practitioners and planners have used the data and products delivered with this project to create new protected areas, prioritize areas, estimate carbon biomass for REDD  projects, and countless other applications of the distribution maps of ecosystems and endemic species.