A year ago, at the height of the global pandemic, long before life-saving vaccines became available, we reported on these pages on how, while the world wasn’t looking, the forests of the Amazon basin were burning like never before.
Tragically, twelve months on, we must report that international environmental organizations have once more informed the world’s media of devastating burning in the Amazon basin.
Each year across the Amazon forest, the custodianship of which is the responsibility of eight South American countries (Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana), when the dry season comes around once more, local farmers and cattle ranchers burn large areas of pristine, biodiverse forest in order to increase their agricultural and livestock holdings. They do this when they move on from areas they cleared through burning during previous years, where soils are rapidly depleted by intensive exploitation.
Now, in 2021, it is being reported that the record fires of the 2019 and 2020 so-called “fire seasons” have once again been surpassed, with burning and the resultant deforestation occurring with even greater intensity.
While the recently-elected Peruvian president Pedro Castillo promised in his inaugural address to grant greater powers to the country’s Ministry of the Environment in the battle to protect the 60% of Peru’s land area that is tropical and subtropical forest, in other parts of South America no such promises have been forthcoming. In Brazil, where the populist politician Jair Bolsonaro came to power in January 2019, and where around 60% of the entire Amazon basin is located, record destruction is occurring year-on-year.
At Tambopata Ecolodge, and in our own Private Conservation Area and the neighboring Tambopata National Reserve, we work to help protect one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth from the fate outlined above. In addition to protected Peru’s forests from land invasion and burning, we have assumed the responsibility of guarding our corner of the Amazon from multiple threats that include illegal logging, illicit gold mining and poaching.
As the custodians of a government-authorized eco-lodge and a network o private conservation areas, we remain vigilant in the face of the many threats to the forests we have been helping to protect and conserve since 1991.
You may be asking yourself what you can do to help save the Amazon. Well, at Tambopata Ecolodge, we work hard to conserve just one part of the vast Amazon basin, setting an example based upon a combination of conservation and sustainable ecotourism. This means that when travelers come from Peru and the rest of the world to our eco-lodge, to spend time with us and enjoy the many wonders of the Amazon, they are already helping, just by being there!
Why? Because responsible ecotourism protects and educates. It protects the forests for the future, while showing others, throughout this country and across this continent, that the Amazon is worth far more to us all when it is left in peace to thrive and to be enjoyed!