Iquitos

Gnatcatcher

endangered due to deforestation

The Amazon Rainforest is the world’s largest rainforest and has the richest biodiversity.  Twenty percent of the Amazon rainforest has been lost due to logging, agricultural farming, urbanization, and the building of roads. Approximately 137 species of animals, plants, and insects are lost every day.  In a small pocket of the Amazon exists one of the most biodiverse hotspots -  the Peruvian Northern Amazon basin in the Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve. It is here that the Iquitos Gnatcatcher lives.  It is a little grey and white bird that has become critically endangered due to loss of habitat in this unique region of the world. It is believed that less than 50 pairs exist in the wild. The Iquitos Gnatcatcher is only one of the hundreds of species being impacted in this Peruvian basin.

The land in the Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve is an ancient forest of white sands and a variety of forests within. The land itself is not very fertile but due to population growth and the expansion of agricultural lands, this area is under constant threat.  Crops do not grow well and land is constantly cleared due to the poor soil quality.  The other main issue destruction by forestry for timber production.  

If the Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve can be protected and also provide economic incentive, the Iquitos Gnatcatcher and all other organisms can be preserved. The best solution at protecting this space is the purchase of private land for public conservation.  ProNaturaleza in collaboration with American Bird Conservancy have been expanding the reserve and erecting educational resources surrounding the park.  In making this an ecotourism destination, this can be an economic force for the people that live here as well as a tourist destination that can create subsistence for years to come.

Artwork and Writing by – Sophia Estrada – 9th Grader at TERRA Environmental Research Institute