Saving Peru’s Ecosystems and Biodiversity
It is important for the world and for the enjoyment of future generations to preserve Peru’s ecosystems and biodiversity. Peru has a wide range of ecosystems because of its great variation in elevation or height above sea. About 84 of the 104 existing ecosystems or “life zones” identified in the world and 28 of the 32 climates on the planet are present in Peru. They range from the cold Pacific waters in the south to the warm tropical seas in the north, from the dry coastal desert to the high Andean mountains and Altiplano, from the mountainous tropical forest to the deep humid Amazon basin. These varieties of climates make Peru one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world. Scientists estimate that Peru is home to 25,000 plant species or 10% of the world total, 472 species of mammals (about a third are different types of bats), 20% of the world’s butterfly species and 1,816 bird species. Almost one fifth of all migrating bird species fly through Peru.
Nearly two-thirds of Peru is covered by tropical rain forest, it is where the impressive and mighty Amazon River originates. Peru is the second in Latin America after Brazil for total area of tropical rain forest. Currently the country has more than 133 million acres of old rainforest, representing 58% of the original forest. Unfortunately the majority of it is threatened by deforestation from logging, oil drilling, mining, gas extraction, expansion of farming land and extraction of other natural resources. Chemical spraying in order to eradicate coca plants is another source of deforestation that affect the local flora and fauna.
Ever since the rubber boom over one hundred years ago when thousands of indigenous people died extracting rubber the Amazon rain forest has been a political issue. Often times,Peru’s indigenous people and their land have been threatened by development in the area.
According to the Conservation Foundation, Peru is a country of surprising diversity in human and biological terms, and because of its vast genetic wealth, if Peru can be saved, it could serve as the basis for “rehabilitating” the rest of the world. The Peruvian government has adopted international laws and strategies to protect its natural wealth but has failed in implementing them. Seventy two percent of the Peruvian Amazon is involved in plans for oil and gas extraction which threatens its biodiversity and ecosystems. Incentives for foreign investment and high prices for metals have promoted the increase in mining concessions by more than 70% in the last 10 years. Pollution is the biggest concern among local communities. Promoting private investment and protecting the environment should be a priority in the country’s development policy.
More about Peru’s biodiversity
Among the most endangered animals in the Andes are the condor, yellow tailed wolley monkey and the Andean mountain cat.
Overfishing and dam-building threaten the Amazon River and its ecosystem. Deforestation to clear land for mining, road building and agriculture destroys the habitat of plants and animals that live in the rain forest; it also contributes to the erosion of the soil creating mudslides.
The Amazon river is home to many species of animals and many of them are in danger of extinction.
A national system to protect natural areas in order to contribute to the sustainable development of the country. Currently there ares 61 protected areas that cover 18 million hectares or 14 percent of the national territory.