AMAZON CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION

Rating: 5 stars   36 reviews

Issues: Environment, Water

Location: 1822 R Street NW 4th Floor Washington DC 20009 USA

Mission: The mission of the Amazon Conservation Association is to conserve the biological diversity of the Amazon Basin.
Results: 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.
Programs: 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.
2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 52-2211305
202-234-2356
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Community Reviews

Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

ACCA has dedicated and passionate volunteers, staff and leaders working on providing long-term conservation zones in the Amazon region. They are currently working in Peru and Bolivia, creating a strong presence in the southern Amazon region based on mutual respect and openness. My research team visited the ACCA biological stations in Madre de Dios during our research collection period and we found the facilities and staff to be excellent. We are currently moving forward with more formal collaborations with ACCA and I would not hesitate to recommend them as collaborators for any institution working in the Amazon.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

Amazon Conservation Association is one of the best groups of its kind out there. I had the opportunity to visit their research stations in the Amazon basin of Peru, and I've also met their Washington, DC staff. They are a super professional group of people dedicated to getting great results on the ground where it counts. I work in the conservation and environmental fields, and many nonprofits have become too self-serving. Not ACA. They keep their eyes focused on the mission. The vast majority of funds are used to develop research programs, ecotourism, and sustainable economic alternatives for local communities in the Amazon, where there is tremendous pressure from unregulated and illegal logging and mining.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Increase their capacity! ACA already does a great deal with the resources they have. But the demand for more economic alternatives to stem the forest loss and destruction from illegal and unregulated activities like mining and logging is huge. In fact, if I could, I would replicate ACA's model ten times over in the Amazon basin, and then replicate it elsewhere in the developing world, including here in in the U.S.!

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I have had the opportunity to collaborate with ACA in their DC office as well as in the field in Peru. The small, but efficient group in DC felt like a family. They have excellent communication in their teamwork and have created a warm, welcoming environment.
In Peru, I was able to work on the projects I had been translating proposals for in DC. These projects, in addition to accomplishing ACA’s objective of preserving the biodiversity in the Amazon basin, have a very big educational component. This is really important in the process of critical consciousness for local and native communities, from kids to adults. The generation of close ties between ACA and communities shows that not only is the work of researchers, interns and volunteers important for nature preservation, but so is the work of these people.
This has been one of the most enriching experiences I have had, not only because of the quality of work but also the quality of people. ACA is an organization where each individual worker, from labors to executives, has a commitment to nature conservation. I’m a Peruvian biologist, and having ACA working in my country gives me great expectations to have the Amazon basin that we want, well preserved!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I have worked with ACA both in the field as a volunteer and in the office as an intern. This has given me a good perspective on their work and allows me to say without reservation that ACA is an exceptional organization. Both the staff in the office and on the ground are extremely capable and committed to their work, often putting in long hours to make sure all their various projects are running smoothly. Though small, ACA is extremely efficient and makes better use of their resources than other, larger organizations can. I hope to work with them again soon and wouldn't hesitate to recommend them.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I attended some of the events that the Amazon Conservation Association held while I was living in Washington, DC and got to know some of the staff as well. As I learned more about their programs in the Amazon region, I was more and more impressed that a relatively small organization could do so much. I appreciate the hard-working staff and the thought and intention they put into all their work. I don't have a ton of money to give, but I give a little something to ACA every month because I know they'll take it and make every buck go toward the great work that they do.

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Review from CharityNavigator
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I have worked with and for ACA in multiple contexts since 2003 as a volunteer field researcher, employee, advisor, and donor. My work and experience with ACA has changed my life and has allowed me to help efforts to create significant and long-lasting conservation initiatives in the Peruvian Amazon. Sleek, efficient, and intricately involved in conservation at all scales and levels in the Southwestern Amazon, ACA is, in my professional opinion, the most effective conservation organization operating in the region today.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I chose to volunteer for ACA because it works at the ground level with local organizations that can move quickly and effectively. ACA is the best organization that I have worked with in my 40 years in conservation including my time as Secretary of the Interior.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I worked for a semester with Amazon Conservation Association on expanding their ecotourism outreach efforts. This project and the other work ACA does to protect vital areas of land in the Peruvian Amazon should be supported fully!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Likely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

Was this review helpful? 
Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I am a 4th year PhD student pursuing a degree examining the bamboo forests of SW Amazonia, and ACA has been an integral part of my research from the very beginning. Their infrastructural support in the lowland forests of Peru has been home to many months of my research. Additionally, their constant pursuit of knowledge not only keeps them on the forefront of ecological understanding, but offers students such as myself funding opportunities and the ability to contribute to the preservation of one of the most precious resources on our planet. I owe them a great debt of gratitude and hope that I can continue to work closely with them throughout my future endeavors.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 5 stars  

I volunteered with ACA in their Washington DC office during my sophomore year of college. It was my first personal experience with a non-profit organization and man did they set the bar high! I was constantly impressed by the dedication, passion and talent of everyone in the office. ACA does not have an easy task, but they never faltered. WONDERFUL organization that will always have my full support. Fantastic goals and wonderful people. Such an important organization. GO ACA!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Was this review helpful? 
Review from CharityNavigator