The watershed of the Rio Huallaga, with much of its course running through the Departamento San Martin is one region where the full extent of species richness is heretofore unknown. It is known that within a single hectare of forest in this region there may be found living in sympatry as many as 9 species of Dendrobatid frogs, a total greater than is found in the entire country of Costa Rica. If poison frog diversity in this region is indicative of the overall diversity, then the lower Rio Huallaga transitional zones are unquestionably an area of extreme importance, and in immediate need of conservation.
San Martin is one of the most heavily deforested of the Peruvian departments. Pressure on these forests from growing campesino populations and growing urban centers, coupled with the continuous onslaught by large agricultural and petrochemical interests which lay waste to unfathomable tracts of forests in pursuit of resource extraction and monoculture agriculture insure the continuance of this destructive trend.
Recognizing the significance of the region, Understory Enterprises has maintained a small private reserve outside of the village of Chazuta since 2005, employing a local family as caretakers of the forest.
Over the past several years our preserve in the Huallaga has been used by researchers from East Carolina University for studies pursuing a greater understanding of Dendrobatid biology. Likewise, in the summer of 2008 a graduate student from Trier University in Germany worked extensively in our preserve outside of Iquitos.
However, these modest endeavors are but a start, and we are preparing for the purchase of additional hectares adjacent to our already established preserve outside of Chazuta. With support from hobbyists, conservation minded businesses and from proceeds generated through sales of our frogs we aim for regular expansion of our preserves both in the Hualluaga and in the lowland forests of Iquitos.
Brian Kubicki has been a bastion of amphibian conservation in Costa Rica. Since arriving in the country in 1997 he has become the authority on Central American glass frogs, working tirelessly in the field and seeking out the secrets of their poorly understood ecology. Read more…
Peru Project: Update
Our breeding efforts in Peru have been downsized considerably to allow for the growth and realization of other goals. We have achieved more than we dreamed possible in Peru when we first set out upon this endeavor more than 6 years ago. Read more…