New conservation project aims to protect Peru's cloud forests
For nature fans, there is nothing quite like the experience of trekking through a cloud forest on trips to South America.
Cloud forests are places of spectacular beauty, with dense fog often descending below the trees, and are home to a vast array of fauna and flora, such as wild orchids and the majestic mountain gorilla.
South America is one of the best places to find cloud forests, including countries such as Costa Rica, Peru, Chile and Bolivia, while they can also be found in certain parts of Asia and Africa.
Now, a new conservation programme has been launched which aims to help preserve one of the world's most important area's of cloud forests - those located in central Peru.
A joint project between the Asociacion Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN) and the American Bird Conservancy, it sees the creation of the new 1,977-acre Monte Potrero Municipal Conservation Area, located in the department of Huanuco, in the municipality of Umari.
More than one third of Peru's 270 endemic birds, mammals and frogs live in cloud forests, meaning they can be found nowhere else on earth and making the conservation of such areas vitally important.
A number of endemic Peruvian bird species are present in the new conservation area, including the Fire-throated Metaltail, Baron’s Spinetail, and Tschudi’s Tapaculo.
The region is also home to small pockets of appropriate habitat for the Bay-vented Cotinga and Rufous-browed Hemispingus, which are both listed as globally vulnerable species.
Louella Puelles Linares, ECOAN's Strategic Relations Officer, explained that the support of local communities had been vital in the creation of the conservation area.
"This success is thanks to the insistence and persistence of the communities of Picahuay, Montehuasi, La Punta, and others near the Monte Potrero Forest, and the support of the Umari Municipality, which participated in the development of conservation strategies to protect this unique source of water for their entire valley," she said.