Amazon Conservation Association

Rating: 4.98 stars   41 reviews

Issues: Environment, Water

Location: 1012 14th Street NW, Suite 625 Washington DC 20005 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

Rating: 5 stars  

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.

 
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Rating: 4 stars  

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?).

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?

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?

2015

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

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.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

I worked as a research assistant at one of ACA's biological stations for several months in 2012. The biological station is kept in very good condition and the location was convenient for accessing our data collection locations. Additionally, the station is located in one of the most beautiful places in the world. It would have been very difficult for us to accomplish our objectives if we had not been able to access the facilities provided by ACA. Really, this place is a researcher's paradise: excellent location and an excellent biological station.

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

try to preserve the biological/physical research aspects that the nonprofit seeks to promote.

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?

Life-changing

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?

2012

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

Volunteering and interning in the DC office in fall 2013, I experienced the dedication of the organization as a whole to the many different projects promoting conservation in the headwaters of the Amazon basin. The impact of ACA crosses national borders and supports research, protects habitats, and advocates sustainable resource management for communities in Peru and Bolivia. ACA's efforts are ensuring that crucial biodiversity is preserved, and that the species of the Amazon have protected areas to migrate toward as climate and human impacts change the environment. This honorable vision and ambitious undertaking makes volunteering for ACA a valuable experience while the passion of the staff and board demonstrates a deep commitment to this mission. ACA constitutes a great nonprofit supported by a driven group of individuals who understand the invaluable resource of the Amazon and work daily to protect it.

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

increase the staff size! I was amazed by the variety of tasks and projects undertaken by the small office in DC.

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

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

I worked as an intern for ACA in the summer of 2013. Their amazing dedication and passion for conserving the Amazon is apparent in every one of their endeavors. The ACA staff shows a commitment to excellence that is unparalleled. As an intern I learned a great deal about nonprofit communications and marketing, and the staff were incredibly helpful and willing to share their vast knowledge and experience with me. ACA's support helped me to build confidence in my own skills and inspired in me a passion for conservation.

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

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

ACCA does amazing work at so many levels, from scientific research to education, sustainable agriculture, ecotourism and advocacy for the conservation of Amazon biodiversity. I have been at Wayqecha and Villa Carmen and they are great field stations that offer unmatched opportunities for field research.

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?

Life-changing

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

 
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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

 
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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

 
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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

 
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