Magdalena Valley Rainforest Update
New Land Acquisitions:
In late 2009, two additional properties–totaling 420 acres–were added to the El Paujil Reserve in Colombia’s Magdalena Valley at a cost of $47,500. The purchase of these two blocks, representing the last two private in-holdings within the reserve brings the area under protection to 7,355 acres. Three final forested properties have been negotiated and are pending purchase.
Harmful incursions into the reserve area have been halted thanks to ongoing monitoring of borders by 2 forest guards. Private Property signs have been mounted on those trails and pathways most frequently utilized by unwanted trespassers. This signage doubles as trail markers and denotes ecotourism pathways as well as routes for internal species monitoring. Camera traps are in place to assist with monthly observation along established wildlife conduits.
Reforestation continues on over 80 acres of pasturelands that were acquired by the reserver in 2008. Plantings to prevent erosion near the highly deforested Rio Ermitaño continue, as does the reintroduction of plant species of particular interest to the Blue-billed Currasow. The ultimate objective is to reforest this entire sector, thereby strengthening the buffer zone of the reserve’s outer boundary.
Community Outreach: Blue-billed Curassow Festival
This festival aimed to build the profile of the protected area in the surrounding communities by instigating a far-reaching educational campaign. Various workshops stressing the importance of ecosystem health were held in key communities and saw a high level of participation. The campaign focuses on the uniqueness of the Blue- billed Currassow and strives to raise greater awareness about the plight of the bird, as well as the threat that habitat loss poses to biodiversity. As part of the festival, school children and community members were invited to explore the reserve and participate in observational expeditions.
Local Development: Community Handcrafts
To date over 1500 handmade items have been crafted by women in the Puerto Pinzon municipality. These include a wide variety of jewelry and artware including bracelets, necklaces and belts–for sale to visiting tourists and also available in minimal numbers for export. The proceeds from sales under this alternative initiative go directly to local artisans living on the outskirts of the reserve. Sustainable development initiatives like this help to greatly alleviate the extractive pressures upon fragile terrains by providing an important source of income for community members.
Rainforest Trust will continue to support our partner buying and saving critical rainforest properties around the Paujil Nature Reserve to ensure long-term viable populations of the endangered species. For more information on the appeal, click here.
Many thanks to our donors that contributed to the Magdalena rainforest appeal and also a special thanks to the support of Luanne Lemmer, American Bird Conservancy, Earth’s Birthday, and The Rainforest Site.