In the rainforests of southeastern Peru, at our eco-lodge and in our Private Conservation Area and the conservation concessions granted to us by the Peruvian government, at Tambopata Ecolodge we work to protect one small corner of the Amazon basin, and to introduce the world’s travelers to our conservation model based on sustainable ecotourism.
Across the world, conservation work and support for conservation initiatives take many forms. Many of us, quite understandably, tend to be wedded to a romantic view of nature, and much of that has to do with a focus on big animals, the charismatic megafauna that captures our imagination. This approach has defined much of conservation for more than a hundred years, through international campaigns to save pandas, rhinos, lions and other major species.
However, such approaches do not always produce the effects we hope for. In many of the world’s natural contexts, what we really ought to be thinking about are the smaller species of both fauna and flora that form the foundations of each ecosystem and food chain.
Millions of unnoticed species, from insects to parasites, are doing amazing things for us and for the natural world, and in general we are a long way from appreciating the many, many life forms that most people can’t even name. Meanwhile, particularly in the Amazon basin, the most biologically diverse place on Earth, species are going instinct, often before science has even discovered and identified them.
That is a situation which does not seem likely to change in the near future; however, through initiatives like our own ecotourism-based Private Conservation Area, we do have an amazing opportunity to think about how human impact affects other species, including extinctions, and to choose the course that we want to plot.
Some forms of conservation are very much about land management –steering and shaping ecosystems that have been negatively affected by human activities. At Tambopata Ecolodge, for the past three decades we have taken a different approach.
We use ecotourism to support rewilding, and for us rewilding means letting nature take its course. At Tambopata Ecolodge, this hands-off approach is our response to the need to protect both those forests that have remained untouched, and those which in the past have been impacted by humans and need time to recover. And recent research supports our approach: left to thrive, tropical forests really do begin to recover their biodiversity in a remarkably short space of time.
One advantage of this rewilding approach is that it does not focus only on those creatures that so many of us know and love. Instead, entire ecosystems are left to thrive, or to recover from past harm, thereby preserving the balance of nature, in all its overwhelming complexity. This enables all living things to flourish, including those uncharismatic species which in many cases are more important than the glamorous animals we all want to see, and see protected.
At Tambopata Ecolodge, supported by the ecotourism activities we offer, for more than thirty years our conservation model has been based on the purchase of land in the Amazon forests of southeastern Peru and the setting up of government protected Private Conservation Areas.
And so, when you join one of our ecoadventure tours in the Peruvian Amazon, spare some time, with the help of your expert naturalist guide, to look around you and appreciate all life, even those tiny creatures that can be so annoying, or those that we have always been taught to be repulsed by! They all serve a purpose in the complex web of life.