The Marañón Ucayali landscape comprises the low basins of the Marañón and Ucayali rivers in Loreto on the western Amazon Basin and covers 17 053 652 hectares, including the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, Matses National Reserve, the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Regional Conservation Area and the Lago Preto Paredon Conservation Concession. It is home to some of the most remote and isolated ecosystems in the Peruvian Amazon and it is a strong hold for some of the most iconic species of the Amazon, including pink river dolphins, taricaya turtles, jaguars, red uakari monkeys, peccaries, saki monkeys, giant river otter, migratory catfish, and so many more. As for cultural diversity, the Loreto region has many indigenous tribes including the Cocama-Cocamilla, the Boras, the Matsés, the Yagua, the Capanahuas, and others. Additionally, mestizo populations who have settled in the area over the years have come from the Andes and the coast, and international immigrants have settled in nearby cities, such as Iquitos. 

Unfortunately, this landscape is under constant threat from illegal logging operations and commercial fisheries that overexplo it the resources. Petroleum concessions and associated exploration and extraction activities also pose threats to conservation. The newest threat in the area is the arrival of palm oil plantations, which may contribute to forest degradation and destruction. Through our work in the Loreto program, we hope to ensure long term conservation of the protected areas and continue addressing the main threats to conservation by providing technical assistance to local communities and developing and disseminating management tools in collaboration with government authorities and encourage the participation of the local population in the sustainable management of their natural resources; and contribute to the conservation of wetlands and fisheries.

Top photo: Walter H. Wust