Environmental Protection and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources in the Manu Biosphere Reserve
Manu Biosphere Reserve
From the snowy peaks of Cusco to the deep rainforest of Madre de Dios, the Manu Bisophere Reserve contains an incredible variety of habitats, species, landscapes and people.
Officially recognized by UNESCO in 1977, the Manu Biosphere Reserve is an impressively diverse, biological and cultural region, home to many different social groups, including settlers in the Andean zone, native communities and tribal populations that choose isolation and to live according to their ancestral ways.
The core zone of the reserve is the Manu National Park, which including its buffer zone covers an area of 1´881,200 hectares of land. UNESCO is considering the transition zone, which corresponds to all of the biosphere reserve, for approval.
Management of the biosphere reserve directly involves the local population and institutions, encouraging growth and development, sustainability, protection of natural resources and cultural appreciation on behalf of their community. The biosphere reserves are models for sustainable management of natural resources, cultural appreciation and sustainable economic development.
El Proyecto ProBosque Manu
Despite efforts by the government to safeguard this mega diverse area, there are anthropogenic activities that prevent its growth. Overgrazing, forest fires, mining and intensive logging are great threats to the forest.
More organized participation of the local communities, and public and private institutions, is necessary to develop more amicable and responsible interaction with ecosystems and natural resources, and to secure the cultural identity of the communities that are part of the Manu Biosphere Reserve.
This project is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI). The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) supports this initiative on the basis of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag. The FZS Peru has been responsible for implementing the BMUB project in collaboration with SERNANP, municipal and district governments since 2013.
The project will last until 2017 and seeks to reduce the loss of biodiversity through community participation, protection and sustainable use of the natural resources of the Manu Biosphere Reserve. The general goals are:
- Conserve natural resources
- Encourage participatory management
- Support administration of the protected area
Such an expansive project will benefit many different groups, including Matsiguenka indigenous populations, families of the Callanga Cooperative, members of the Management Committee, communities in the buffer zone and the administrative staff of the Manu National Park.
This project will have five large-scale components:
1. Evaluation of forest cover and land use:
To better understand how the forest changes over time, the first task of the project was creating a base line, geo-referencing the area through aerial patrols. The project will study pressures on the park caused by human activities in both the Amazonian and Andean regions.
In the Andean region, grazing is one of the activities with the most impact on pastureland. This activity was significantly reduced by removing livestock found in the park and will liberate 18,000 hectares of land for regrowth. The project will also provide equipment and training to the local communities and park keepers in hopes of forming groups to oppose strategically located fires.
On the other hand, the project will facilitate requests for voluntary relocation of 10 Callanga families. These families will receive compensation and logistical support for their relocation and the beginning of their new lives. In the Andean region, the project will promote the consistent and improved use of the existing agricultural lands located within the park to reduce the rate of deforestation.
2. Promote and Improve the Participation of Masiguenka Communities
The project will research resident communities along the Manu River in the Manu National Park in order to understand the use of natural resources through activities like hunting, fishing and small scale agriculture.
The information obtained from this research will make it possible to plan for the effective and sustainable use of natural resources in the communities. The Masiguenka, Tayakome, Yomibato and Maizal communities have agreed to actively participate in the research and local residents have voluntarily taken on roles as field assistants for the project.
Additionally, the project will undergo control and monitoring of the sicknesses of domestic animals. These communities will also receive training to strengthen their competency in managing tourism activities.
3. Research and Conservation of the Andean Bear
There is a latent conflict between humans and wildlife in the buffer zone of the Manu National Park. The Andean bear, also known as the Spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus) is an emblematic South American species that inhabits the park and buffer zone. Despite its iconic popularity, misinformation and cultural beliefs have put the species at high risk. The BMUB Manu project proposes to seek out effective and long term solutions to this problem, through ecological studies (about habitat use, population density, diet and seasonal migration), community participation, educational campaigns and communication.
This is the first study undergone within the natural protected area and seeks to reassess the importance of this species and its mutually beneficial coexistence with local populations.
4. Participatory Management and Skills Development
The project will support coordination of regularly scheduled meetings of the management committee of the Manu National Park and will promote greater participation of the native communities. In the same way, it will offer capacity building for communal park rangers and local participants to negotiate agreements about land usage.
5. Management Support for SERNANP
The project will increase the ability of the SERNANP to involve local participants to negotiate agreements about the use of their natural resources. As such, it will provide maintenance of infrastructure and equipment, and will support both ground and aerial patrols on behalf of the most effective protection of the park.