Amazon Conservation Association
Rating: 4.98 stars 45 45 reviews 3,921
1012 14th Street NW, Suite 625 Washington DC 20005 USA
The mission of the Amazon Conservation Association is to conserve the biological diversity of the Amazon Basin.
Accomplishments: 1. ACA established the world’s first “conservation concession,” a long-term contractual partnership between the national government and a non-government actor, whereby the civil society actor manages state-owned lands for conservation purposes. ACA protects these 360,000 acres from illegal loggers and slash-and-burn farmers. 2. Since 1999, the Brazil Nut Program has grown to protect over one million acres of tropical forest through community-based conservation. ACA has provided technical support to more than 420 Brazil nut harvesting families and helped obtain voluntary Forest Stewardship Council and organic certifications for dozens of concessions. 3. ACA's flagship field station CICRA at Los Amigos extended its run as the most active research site in the Amazon basin. More than 100 researchers representing 39 different research projects visited the station and seventeen researchers received $75,000 in scholarships from the station in 2008. More than 450 researchers have studied at Los Amigos since its inception. 4. Wayqecha, our state-of-the-art biological research station in Peru’s cloud forest hosted 41 active research projects in 2008, and continued to protect 1,450 acres of cloud forest. In 2007-2008, 239 species of orchid were inventoried at Wayqecha, indicating that orchid diversity in this area is much higher than predicted. 5. Establishment of the first indigenous conservation concessions managed by the Wachiperi Haramba Queros nation. ACA provided technical support to the Wachiperi throughout the process of applying for the concession, designing its management plan, and preparing the concession application for the Peruvian forest service.
Our Programs ACA focuses on scientific research, the direct protection of critical habitats, sustainable use of natural resources, and environmental education and training for local stakeholders. Our programs include: Brazil Nut Program: Brazil nuts are a natural forest product whose harvest guarantees income for Amazonian people. ACA’s Brazil nut program supports over 500 Brazil nut harvesters to ensure a sustainable livelihood while protecting their forest resource through technical support, training, and certification. Through this program, ACA has ensured the legal protection of a million acres of forest, enabling wildlife to travel safely between protected areas. Los Amigos Conservation Concession: In 2001, ACA established the world's first private conservation concession in the Los Amigos River watershed. The Los Amigos Conservation Concession protects 360,000 acres of old growth Amazonian forest at the base of the Andes in southeastern Peru, bordering Manu National Park. The Los Amigos Biological Station: The Los Amigos Biological Station, commonly known as CICRA is located at the confluence of the Madre de Dios and Los Amigos rivers, adjacent to the Los Amigos Conservation Concession. Since 2004, CICRA has been the most active research station in the Amazon Basin, hosting an average of 25 researchers and assistants per day. Wayqecha Cloud Forest Research Station: In 2005, ACA created Peru's only permanent research center focused on Andean cloud forest ecology and management. This 1,450-acre research center, called Wayqecha, is located in the buffer zone of Manu National Park near Cusco. Here ACA provides scholarships to an average of 15 university students per year to study local biota, ecosystem interactions, and the impacts of climate change on the forest. Wachiperi Haramba Queros Conservation Concession: In 2008, ACA, in collaboration with the Amazonian Haramba Queros native community, established the first conservation concession in Peru run by an indigenous community. Through support from ACA, the Wachiperi are now successfully ensuring protection of their water supply and continued access to medicinal plants as well as preserving space for their cultural traditions to flourish. Sustainable Micro-Enterprise Development: ACA works in Cusco and surrounding regions to identify livelihood alternatives for local communities that support land conservation. These projects include the production and marketing of sacha inchi (the Omega 3 oil-rich Incan peanut), production of essential oils and dyes from native plants, agroforestry, and textile production. REDD Enterprise & Fire Control: The heart of this Cusco-based initiative is reforestation of degraded lands with economically valuable Andean plant species. The cultivation of these species reduces deforestation pressure on the cloud forest by providing an alternative income to local communities. The project includes a strong scientific component, extending research on fire frequency, forest degradation, and greenhouse gas emissions. Most importantly, the project is designed as a scalable REDD mechanism ready to implement in other tropical montane regions. Los Amigos – Tambopata Corridor: The Los Amigos-Tambopata (LAT) Corridor Initiative was launched to conserve one of the most important areas for biodiversity conservation in the world, a 519,000-acre area of rainforest in the Peruvian Amazon. It preserves forest cover and biological connectivity by creating a mosaic of conservation areas and sustainable economic activity zones from ACA's Los Amigos Conservation Concession to Tambopata National Reserve, ultimately linking Peru's Manu National Park to Bolivia's Madidi National Park. This initiative is the centerpiece of ACA’s efforts to reduce the environmental impact of the Interoceanic Highway. Environmental Education and Training: ACA’s experienced staff shares innovative conservation tools and practices with local organizations and communities. Our field stations, CICRA and Wayqecha, have become centers for educational trips by local schoolchildren as well as leading training sites for local and international university groups. This focus on training reflects our conviction that saving the greatest forests on Earth requires supercharging a new generation of South American scientists and conservationists. Conserving the Pampas del Heath, Bolivia: Located in northern Bolivia, the Pampas del Heath are among the best-conserved Amazonian savannas. These natural savannas are home to rare and threatened mammals like the maned wolf and the marsh deer, which are vanishing from the surrounding forest. In the Pampas, ACA monitors flora and fauna, studies fire ecology and traditional indigenous management, and works to ensure the long-term survival of savannas in and around Madidi National Park.
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Reviews for Amazon Conservation Association
I am an active donor to ACA and have attended several of their programs in Washington, DC. I believe in the work that ACA does to empower local communities in Peru and Bolivia to make a difference and protect their own environment and culture (both of which are threatened by illegal and devastating rain forest destruction). I have also found the MAAP data to be an excellent and impeachable resource in tracking the destruction and continued threats to the rain forest, and urge local authorities to use this MAAP data to prosecute current violators and deter future violators. It's truly incredible and inspiring how the staff of ACA are able to do so much good with so few resources! I would love to see ACA expand with more funding and more programs in Peru, Bolivia and elsewhere in threatened environments.
ACA is a great organization, they do such an amazing work in Peru and Bolivia. As a volunteer and Peruvian I am glad to see the passion and hard-work that they all put to preserve the biodiversity and species in the protected areas and much more. All the staff is very helpful and willing to share all their knowledge and experience with me.
The Amazon Conservation Association is an incredible non-profit that I have had the pleasure and good fortune of working for. The staff members are extremely enthusiastic, hard-working, and passionate individuals whom take pride in their various projects throughout Peru and Bolivia. ACA serves to protect the Amazon as well as the indigenous communities within the region through sustainable living. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to work alongside such a dedicated staff, whose goals and objectives demonstrated exemplary humanitarian efforts towards the local communities. The ecological endeavors undergone by ACA are centered and focused on benefitting the local community. I experienced firsthand the supervision carried out by the ACA offices located in Washington D.C., Peru, and Bolivia. The Amazon Conservation Association goes to great lengths to ensure effective execution of its programs. An extraordinary organization to say the least.
I interned with ACA this summer and was able to see first-hand the passion and dedication with which the staff members approach every aspect of the organization. They are all extremely invested in amazonian conservation, and the programs ACA has in place in Peru and Bolivia truly do make a difference. I am extremely thankful to have worked with them and can't wait to see what they do next.
ACA is an incredible investment for a donor. The staff work hard with few resources and are passionate about saving some of the most important forests on Earth while benefiting the local communities that live there. Unlike many conservation organizations that do projects in multiple countries for short periods, ACA has been rooted to their focal area for more than 15 years. They also have excellent biological stations and invest in training Peruvian students to be future conservationists.
I was the leader for senior high school students from the school I teach with in Canada and contacted ACA for a March Break trip to include community and environmental volunteer efforts and a trek; walking the old Inca road to Machu Picchu. ACA was simply incredible setting up this trip where we stayed at the Wayquecha Bio Station in the cloud forest for 5 days and then transported to the trail head of the old Inca road. The extra effort made to accommodate 15 of us for our ecotourism stay was terrific and the quality and authenticity of the people whom we met through our stay was heartwarming. Students helped by planting trees and learning from Peruvian scientists and villagers. The unique and varied flora and fauna was stunning, especially the orchid research being done in this remote and beautiful region of the lower Andes. The exposure for 16-18 year olds was truly unique. Our contact and guide once in Peru, was a wonderful and passionately knowledgeable scientist and trekking guide. He accompanied us everywhere, making connections, translating when necessary and delivering us to the time of the Inca's through his detailed knowledge of history. It is one thing to assist in rural sustainability like planting trees, but ACA went further than that by introducing us to the people at the heart of this region. Meeting them for lunch which they cooked for us with local quinoa and Tarwi (Lupin family) and indigenous vegetables and herbs meant that the students encountered language, cultural knowledge and habits and exchanged on a human level their lives with fellow Quechuans. The trip was immensely successful and I will bring more students another time to provide exposure to the terrific work being done by ACA.
My wife and I volunteered at ACA’s Los Amigos field station for five weeks in 2015, where we contributed to a scientific study of fauna habitats as part of ACA’s ongoing biological monitoring at the station. The station is a remarkable place – without the infrastructure and resources it provides, it would be incredibly difficult for the kind of research that it supports (all of which is very impressive) to take place at all. The trail network that ACA maintains, radiating outward from the station, is particularly important. This spans multiple types of terrain and habitat, and allows researchers and volunteers to access areas, and therefore ecosystems, plants and animals, that would otherwise be very time consuming and expensive to get to.
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
In a perfect world, ie if funding existed, I think Los Amigos would benefit from more intensive management at ground level. Specifically, two managers in back-to-back roles (so that a manager was always present on-site) would deliver a lot of benefits. I also think that - again, in a perfect world! - Los Amigos would benefit from managers having regular opportunities to visit ACA headquarters and other ACA/non-ACA stations (cross-pollination of culture, ideas, etc; unless this already happens?).
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Great work, highly focused mission, unlike many other conservation NGOs.
ACA is an organization full of staff members who are fully committed to the work that they do. They are always eager to support one another and truly enjoy what they do, eagerly discussing new projects and any recent developments in both Peru and Bolivia. I was the Programs and Support intern these past few months and it has truly been a pleasure getting to know more about the work that ACA does.
Most of my work focused on compiling and synthesizing information on ACA's work in Bolivia. Since it's founding, ACA uses a model that combines a highly-participatory, culturally appropriate process with technical rigor. Currently, through their partnership with the Tacana, an indigenous community north of La Paz, ACA has a number of projects which include but are not limited to providing Brazil Nut harvesting support- a sustainable practice, financial budgeting and management for the Tacana, and piloting a multi-stakeholder approach in order to strengthen a Bolivian municipality's water management.
The ACA office in DC is small which means that every staff member's work is vital to furthering the organization's mission. Each member's commitment to protecting the biological diversity of the Amazon is clearly evident, and I highly recommend volunteering or providing financial support to this worthy cause.
I worked at CICRA biological station, run by ACA, for my Master's Degree. It was an amazing place to work and I am happy that my station fees went to such a great organization. I have also spent time at Wayquecha station and it's really unique that ACA runs a number of biological stations in diverse areas, over elevational gradients. ACA has been working hard to promote environmental education and conservation in southwestern Peru and have a done a great job.
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
I recommend ACA to stay focused on supporting scientific research, which is what sets them aside from so many other similar non-profits and biological stations in the Amazon. Don't give up science for tourism only!
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