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Managing Impacts

Managing lodge Impacts on soil and water.

We unfortunately have no data that proves our impact on water courses and soil is negligible, but we can describe what we do to keep our operation green and clean. First of all we separate and recycle. All biodegradable material is composted onsite. All non-biodegradable material is taken by boat to the city dump. And all glass material is taken to the recycler in town. Secondly, we use only biodegradable soaps, shampoos, and laundry materials, which are completely inocous. We do not use solar energy, and turn on a generator during five hours a day for essential kitchen equipment and battery recharging. The lodge is lighted by windlamps and refrigerators are gas powered. Finally, although we do have septic tanks, we need to invest in a cleaner waste management system.

Managing Environmental Impacts from traditional community economic activities.

Tourism in the community should generate a change in habits and decisions which lead to conservation. This can be seen anecdotally to work both ways, and is expensive to measure and follow, so we have not been successful at monitoring it.

For example, on the plus side, the community has incorporated regulations which forbid members to hunt in the communal reserve, to fish with nets in the lake, and to cut forest around harpy eagle nests. Although these regulations are infracted upon every now and then, the three important take-away lessons are that the community has indeed decided to regulate the use of these resources because of their value as tourism resources, that in effect the frequency of hunting in the reserve or fishing in the lake has diminished drastically, and that the community views as a problem every time someone is heard hunting in the reserve. If it could patrol and find out who, it would sanction the infractor, likely taking his profit away for a year and blacklisting his family for jobs at Posada Amazonas. A specific example of the community´s conservation commitment and capacity to act: in 2003, a logger came to the community to buy a standing hardwood near the lake. The community assembly said no because it is close to the otters. Then the logger offered to bribe the president, and he said no. Then the logger went and cut it anyway. The community went to the police and had the timber and equipment expropriated. A second example is that they pay for two wildlife monitors, who follow Conservation International´s protocol to evaluate wildlife population sizes. The community pays for the monitors as a way to keep an eye on what impact hunting is having as a resource that is shared by tourists and community families alike.

On the minus side, it is evident that community members are spending their hard earned tourism income on chainsaws and rifles. Although the monitors mentioned above will provide us data with regards to the impact of hunting on the community, it is more difficult to understand what goes on with chainsaws. These can be used for timber, but far more likely, to develop farms. In this aspect, we are hazy. As Stronza mentions in her thesis “we can be cautiously optimistic that ecotourism at Posada Amazonas is helping to protect the rain forests of Tambopata while meeting the economic needs of the people in the Community of Infierno”.

 

Managing visitor impacts on sensitive wildlife species.

Rainforest Expeditions was born out of a conservation ethic. Posada Amazonas was therefore a project directed towards generating sustainable development and conservation. Both the community and the company are aware that our clients come to see natural resources as much as cultural ones. Attractions such as the giant river otters, harpy eagles and macaws are key. Charismatic fauna such as monkeys and caiman are important. Therefore we keep an eye not only on the impacts of tourism on these species, but on how we can work to assure their populations over the long term.

Key alliances with research projects focusing on some of the most vulnerable species has helped establish studies to determine the impact of tourists on them. We also follow their recommendations through voluntary management plans and monitoring programs. Macaw, otter and harpy eagle research and monitoring have been conducted on and off since the beginning of the project. Results can be downloaded from our web page.

The following chart also provides important data that proves the little impact we have on wildlife. This data has been gathered throughout the years by our guides, who register all important wildlife encounters. A sample of the most common ones has been selected for this paper.

 

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

Giant River Otter

61%

48%

60%

71%

71%

Capuchin Monkey

18%

14%

17%

23%

20%

Squirrel Monkey

25%

27%

32%

38%

33%

Dusky Titi Monkey

78%

80%

81%

77%

80%

Howler Monkey

24%

29%

20%

25%

27%

Capybara

18%

14%

34%

33%

40%

Managing lodge impacts on soil and water.

We unfortunately have no data that proves our impact on water courses and soil is negligible, but we can describe what we do to keep our operation green and clean. First of all we separate and recycle. All biodegradable material is composted onsite. All non-biodegradable material is taken by boat to the city dump. And all glass material is taken to the recycler in town. Secondly, we use only biodegradable soaps, shampoos, and laundry materials, which are completely inocous. We do not use solar energy, and turn on a generator during five hours a day for essential kitchen equipment and battery recharging. The lodge is lighted by windlamps and refrigerators are gas powered. Finally, although we do have septic tanks, we need to invest in a cleaner waste management system.

Managing environmental impacts from traditional community economic activities.

Tourism in the community should generate a change in habits and decisions which lead to conservation. This can be seen anecdotally to work both ways, and is expensive to measure and follow, so we have not been successful at monitoring it.

For example, on the plus side, the community has incorporated regulations which forbid members to hunt in the communal reserve, to fish with nets in the lake, and to cut forest around harpy eagle nests. Although these regulations are infracted upon every now and then, the three important take-away lessons are that the community has indeed decided to regulate the use of these resources because of their value as tourism resources, that in effect the frequency of hunting in the reserve or fishing in the lake has diminished drastically, and that the community views as a problem every time someone is heard hunting in the reserve. If it could patrol and find out who, it would sanction the infractor, likely taking his profit away for a year and blacklisting his family for jobs at Posada Amazonas. A specific example of the community´s conservation commitment and capacity to act: in 2003, a logger came to the community to buy a standing hardwood near the lake. The community assembly said no because it is close to the otters. Then the logger offered to bribe the president, and he said no. Then the logger went and cut it anyway. The community went to the police and had the timber and equipment expropriated. A second example is that they pay for two wildlife monitors, who follow Conservation International´s protocol to evaluate wildlife population sizes. The community pays for the monitors as a way to keep an eye on what impact hunting is having as a resource that is shared by tourists and community families alike.

On the minus side, it is evident that community members are spending their hard earned tourism income on chainsaws and rifles. Although the monitors mentioned above will provide us data with regards to the impact of hunting on the community, it is more difficult to understand what goes on with chainsaws. These can be used for timber, but far more likely, to develop farms. In this aspect, we are hazy. As Stronza mentions in her thesis “we can be cautiously optimistic that ecotourism at Posada Amazonas is helping to protect the rain forests of Tambopata while meeting the economic needs of the people in the Community of Infierno”.

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