Untitled Document
Geography
National Context
National System of Protected Areas
Table of Protected Areas
Map of Protected Areas

Geography

Peru's geography varies greatly responsible for the rich biological, cultural, and landscape diversity of the country. Traditionally, Peru is divided in three geographic regions: the Pacific coast, the Andean range, and the Amazon basin. Each of these regions has its own characteristics, values, and unique beauty. The coast is approximately 3,000 km long and its predominately desert landscape extends 137,000 km². The Andean region occupies 409,000 km². Its highest peak is the snow-capped Huascarán that reaches to an elevation of 6,760 meters above sea (more than 22,000 feet). The Andean region includes mountainous ranges, high plateaus, and valleys. The Amazon makes up 60% of Peru's territory and extends 740,000 km². The Peruvian Amazon is drained by several large rivers and contains large expanses of intact forest.

There are 11 bioregions found in Peru, due to both the varied geography and climate. These include: cold Pacific Ocean, with whales and guano-producing seabirds; warm tropical sea along the northern coast with mangroves; coastal desert with small valleys, hills, and sand; dry tropical forest; coastal tropical forest; steep highlands of the western Andes with guanacos and vizcachas; the puna with pajonales and high Andean lagoons, llamas and vicuñas; highland forests of the eastern Andes with cloud forests habitat to the spectacled bear and the Andean "Cock-of-the-Rock"; lowland Amazonian forest with large rivers, lakes, and forests.

Peru is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world. There are 472 mammal species, of which 164 are bats and 32 are primates. Twenty percent of all bird species fly through Peru. There are many endemic species and even many species still undiscovered.

National Context

Peru has important intact tropical forests, snow-covered mountains, pristine lakes, and an extensive coast along a highly productive sea. Because of its rich natural resource base, sustainable development is a necessity for Peru. However, human activities are currently conducting to severe environmental degradation through deforestation, soil erosion, overuse of resources, and pollution.

Despite the fact that there is abundant environmental legislation, there are still contradictions in the development policies, which are based on taking full advantage of the natural resources. In addition, low quality of life for the majority of Peruvians and the lack of attention given to environmental concerns by the industrial and political entities contributes to make matters worse. This situation is further compounded by a limited technological capacity, weak organizations, and lack of power by those entities promoting sustainable development and conservation.

National System of Protected Areas

The National System of Protected Areas (SINANPE) is made up of a variety of management categories, according to the creation objectives of each protected area. The Natural Protected Areas Administration of the Natural Resources Institute (INRENA), part of the Ministry of Agriculture, is responsible for the administration and management of the protected areas system. Its policies are based on the Natural Protected Areas Law and related regulations. INRENA is represented throughout the country and has received recognition by the sectors involved in natural resource management and nature protection.

Over the last years, several important protected areas have been established, and better management has been put into place for many existing protected areas. Despite these efforts, the system still presents some major deficiencies. The principal one is lack of financing, which limits implementation and effective control of protected areas. Lack of infrastructure and staff training affects the ability of the system to function properly. Lack of interinstitutional coordination confuses responsibilities, puts sectoral interests before others, and does not facilitate resolution to conflicts.

With the new regional governmental structure that Peru is adopting, the future of natural resource management and of the country's vast expanses of primary forests is quite unclear. It is possible that the regional govenments establish new protected areas and improve their management, but it is also conceivable that the regional governments decide to allow more resource extraction, exploitation of existing protecting areas, or extend the road network to the interiors of the forest...

Table of Protected Areas
Map of Protected Areas


 
 
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