LUZ M. MELENDEZ PRESERVE
Sustainable Forest for Education and Conservation in South Eastern PERU
Luz M. Melendez Preserve is a rainforest land of 65 acres (25 hectares), of protected forest, situated along the large Madre de Dios River about 30 minutes by boat from Puerto Maldonado City. The habitat includes primary floodplain forest, river succession or riverine forest, sand banks, ponds, and forest gaps. Luz M. Melendez Preserve is seasonally flooded, it has rich soils due to annual sediment deposits from river floods. The land is wanted for agriculture, and therefore are amongst the most threatened in the area.
This piece of rainforest land is in the stages of succession, with Kapok trees, Ironwood trees, wild garlic trees, palm trees, and fig trees, and Cecropia trees. This forest also frequently have terraces, one or meters higher that others, which represent historical floods.
The forest and vegetation on each terrace is in a different stage of succession and of a different age, than the others. To the untrained eye this is unnoticeable, but to a botanist, it is like moving from one neighborhood to another in a large city.
Since 2012 we have made wildlife surveys covering Luz M. Melendez Preserve and the surroundings, listing 239 species of birds and 22 species of large and small mammals, currently we are working surveying the plants, insects and butterflies.
This forest land is the training center and laboratory for learning about nature and wildlife. Sharing it is our commitment.
The preserve land is vulnerable by various threats to which they are subject. The major threats are uncontrolled agriculture and land grabs, gold mining, illegal logging, excessive extraction of other natural resources (bushmeat, fish, fruit and palm leaves, etc.), paving the road Cusco – Puerto Maldonado and increased migration to the region to increase pressure and threats on the protected area processes.
Hope a lot more is coming. We want to build a capable field center, with 6 rooms, 1 kitchen, 4 restrooms, a library, and a conference room. We want to help to develop more birding groups in Madre de Dios and rest of Perú and Bolivia. We want to keep developing more nature trips for genuine ecotourism. We believe ecotourism is a key for conservation. We want to expose our participants to opportunities to see many more birds. We want to encourage people to participate as ambassador of national parks, preserves, concessions and private protected forest for conservation.
We want to look for more economical resource to buy more land for conservation, and at the moment we have the offer of the land in the neighbor, 38 hectares of land next to Luz M. Melendez Preserve and we seek for $20.000 dollars to by it.
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