Assisting those at the sharp end of conservation, the people tasked with implementing protected area policies in wilderness frontier zones
The humid lowland rainforest in the Madre de Dios region of Peru is experiencing rapid change as a result of human population growth, improved access in the form of new roads, and from the growing demand at national and global levels for forest and agricultural products. Tropical timber trees are being extracted, bushmeat species killed for sale in local markets, animals trapped and trafficked for the pet trade, and swathes of forest cut down and burnt to make way for cattle ranches and large fields of crops. These activities are now beginning to encroach on the many types of conservation areas (CAs) that currently protect in excess of 5 Million hectares (12 Million acres) of this the most biodiverse region of Peru and arguably of the Planet. Only active surveillance and protection measures, especially on the borders of these CAs, will prevent these forests and associated wilderness areas from further harm.
This region boasts six, large State-managed reserves and national parks (see map below) that together cover an expanse of 4 Million hectares (10 Million acres), as well as native community forests, conservation concessions, ecotourism concessions, Brazil nut concessions, and private conservation easements that total a further 1 Million hectares. Except for the most remote of conservation these, they are all under threat from human impacts and encroachment.
However, it is a fact that active presence of rangers and guards on the border areas of these conservation-focused forests, with a knowledge of environmental protection laws and due process, can significantly reduce the risk of illegal incursions into these areas. Therefore, implementing strategies to help achieve at least a minimum required level of "presence" in these border areas is important from a long-term forest and wildlife conservation point of view.