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Amazon Conservation Association

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Biological & Life Sciences, Environment, Forest Conservation, Natural Resources Conservation & Protection, Water, Water Resources, Wetlands Conservation & Management

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.

Community Stories

27 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Community empowerment, environmental protection, and scientific research. Amazon Conservation does it all. I interned at ACA a few summers ago, and it was an eye-opening experience. I got the opportunity to see and partake in the incredible work of a growing nonprofit that goes above and beyond to protect the Amazon while supporting livelihoods in impoverished regions of South America. Through their many scientific research projects, publications, and educational field visits to the region ACA shines light at the many issues affecting the amazon, while at the same time encourages the world to think and act to protect one of the world's most biodiversed regions. Most importantly, ACA works in Bolivia and Peru to educate, empower, and provide economic intensives for local and indigenous communities to protect their majestic natural environment truly embodies ACA's leading conservation practices. The uniqueness and holistic approach to conservation from a community-based practice, in combination to strong scientific research, makes ACA's conservation efforts exemplary for others to follow. ACA's community-based environmental conservation practices inspired me to continue my path in the field of environmental science, knowing I could one day apply it to give back to my community in Latin America. Surprisingly enough, ACA manages to do all of this and more with very limited human and economic capital in the U.S., Bolivia, and Peru. GO AMAZON, GO ACA!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1 Jess P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

2 Ben_14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Review from CharityNavigator

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Review from CharityNavigator

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with ACCA Cusco for 2 months now, and am thrilled to be able to be part of this remarkable organization. The goals of the organization are admirable, and I have witnessed how the team’s expertise and dedication has achieved excellent results that are far-reaching on the ground. The trust and camaraderie that is tangible between the team and the communities with which it works is testament to the sincerity the team brings and to the commitment to sustainability in reaching it’s conservation goals.

mna.wang

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I interned with Amazon Conservation Association in their Cusco, Peru office (ACCA). I am a graduate student at the Yale School of Forestry and I served my internship with ACCA in the summer of 2012. One of the most difficult things to achieve in community-based conservation is the building of a relationship based on trust between the project members and the community. ACCA has done just this. ACCA has gained and maintained the trust and respect of the communities with which it works. The dedication of the project staff is also impeccable. They are encouraging and supportive. They take your work seriously and will provide you (even as an intern) the opportunity to learn from their work. They will empower you with responsibilities that will push you to discover and hone your skills to grow professionally and personally. You will learn tremendously by working with ACCA.

Review from CharityNavigator

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with ACA for 4 months in 2012 and was incredibly impressed with both the technical expertise of the staff and the organizations ability to engage and serve stakeholders on the ground. ACA does an exceptional job of designing and implementing programming that maximizes gains in both biodiversity conservation and livelihoods development and support. I have worked with many NGOs over the years, however ACA stands out for consistently maintaining an explicit organizational focus on implementing effective and adaptive conservation programming.

Review from CharityNavigator

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I interned with ACA at Wayqecha Biological Station for one year. It was an amazing experience to work with such a progressive group of people committed to approaching conservation from every angle possible.

Review from CharityNavigator

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I interned with the Amazon Conservation Association for four months in the the spring of 2011. It was very nice to be a part of an organization that was well-run and efficient. The staff is wonderful, all very passionate about the work they're doing. While I was only able to intern three days a week, I was still glad to assist the organization in a small way and their overall mission in protecting the Amazon Basin in Peru and Bolivia.