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NATIONAL PARKS

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ALTO PURUS NATIONAL PARK

Alto Purús was established as a National Park the 20th of November of 2004 by means of Supreme Decree N° 040-2004-AG. This Natural Area protected by Peru is located in the Provinces of Purús and Atalaya (Department of Ucayali) and the Province of Tahuamanú (Department of Madre de Dios). It has a total extension of 2510694.41 hectares.

The territory of Alto Purús contemplates a harmonious relation between man and nature within its geography, housing significant natural and aesthetic values, as well as cultural; the latter due to the ethnic groups living under voluntary isolation within the area of the Park (Yora and Yine linguistic groups).

The Alto Purús National Park contributes in an effective way to preserve the biological diversity, and to broaden the measures taken to protect the territorial ambit of the ethnic groups under voluntary isolation. And it was because it holds a huge biological diversity, a great variety of ecosystems, and extraordinarily beautiful settings, that is was identified as a priority for the conservation of Peru's biological diversity, and its Directive Plan approved by Supreme Decree N° 010-99-AG.

The physical environment is conformed by a geomorphologic setting that presents two predominant shapes: the alluvial plain with flat and a little steep surfaces, which is rather changeable due to the rivers and the meander activity of the system, and the undulating hillocks cut by very steep slopes. The soils are of fine to mid texture with an acid to very acid reaction, with low natural fertility and variable depth.

According to Holdridge (1978) and ONREN (1976), there are the following life zones in the National Park of Alto Purús:

Very Misty Pre-Mountainous Tropical Forest, with bio temperatures between 18.5 and 25.6° C and total annual rains between 2193 and 4376 mm. Amongst the characteristic flora species of this habitat we have the mohenas of the Lauraceae family, and the Persea spp or avocados., Ocotea spp or Red arura Nectandra spp or Lance tree. genus; and mainly the congona or the cow tree (Brosimum sp.), the mashonaste or Camphorwood (Clarisia sp.), and the tornillo tree (Cedrelinga catenaeformis).

Misty Pre-Mountainous Tropical Forest, with bio temperatures varying between 17.2 and 24.9° C, and total annual precipitations between 936 and 1968 mm. The tornillo, the congona, the cedar, and other species represent the tree vegetation.

Misty Tropical Forest, with average bio temperatures between 23.2 and 25.7° C, and total annual rains between 1916 and 3420 mm. In this type of forest we can find mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla), cedar (Cedrela odorata), ceiba (Chorisia integrifolia), cumala or Virola tree (Virola spp.) and lagarto caspi White cypress pine (Calophyllum brasiliensis).

Misty Tropical Forest Transitional to Very Misty Subtropical Forest, with average bio temperatures between 22.5 and 24° C, and total annual temperatures between 2300 and 2600 mm.

Other vegetal species are the paca bamboos of the Guadua spp., palm trees such as the pona or stilt palm(Iriartea spp.), the huasai or variegated mountain cabbage palm (Euterpe precatoria), the shapaja palm (Sheelea cephalotes) and the pijuayo or Peach palm (Bactris gasipaes); shore vegetation such as the caña brava or Arrow Grass (Gynerium sagittatum), the pájaro Bobo or river alder (Tessaria integrifolia) and the cecropia (Cecropia spp).

The fauna is also much variegated with representative species such as the ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), the puma (Puma concolor), the jaguar (Pantera onca) and the giant river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis); amongst the ungulates we have the peccary (Tayassu spp.), the deer (Mazama spp.) and the tapir (Tapirus terrestris); amongst the rodents we have the pacas or agoutis (Agouti paca), the añujes or agoutis (Dasiprocta spp.), and the capybara (Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris); primates such as the emperor tamarin or pichico (Saguinus imperator), the black spider monkey (Ateles paniscus), the coto or red howler monkey (Alouata seniculus), the machines or capuchin monkeys (Cebus spp.) and the squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciureus).

The flashiest birds are represented by macaws (Ara spp.), parrots (Amazona spp.), herons, paujiles or guans, and puna hawks, as well as by many other species.

Amongst the reptiles there is the motelo or Yellow-footed tortoise, (Geochelonia denticulata) land turtles, and amongst the aquatic ones the (Podocnemis spp or "American Side-Necked Turtles, besides the spectacled caiman (Cayman crocodylus), the black caiman (Melanosuchus níger), numerous serpent and other caiman species, as well as amphibious and fishes, plus the invertebrates.

The objectives of the Alto Purús National Park are the protection of the great biological diversity and the ecosystems, besides the conservation and protection of its extraordinarily beautiful settings. This National Park also contributes to broaden the measures taken to defend the territorial ambit of the ethnic groups living in voluntary isolation, whose ancestral lands are mainly located on the heads of the basins of the Alto Purús, Alto Yura and Las Piedras Rivers.

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