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Central Selva/Yanachaga-Chemillén National ParkPIP 2000

Rising from 1,500 feet (455 m) to towering snow capped-mountains of 13,000 feet (3,885 m), the Central Selva in Peru is home to a variety of ecosystems, each harboring its own unique biodiversity. The Central Selva includes Andean rainforest, tropical Amazon rainforest, cloud forest, and Puna ecosystems and because of its altitude variance, the region’s precipitation ranges from 1,500 to 6,000 mm a year. Parks in Peril (PiP) is focusing on three protected areas and their buffer zones: Yanachaga-Chemillen National Park, the San Matías-San Carlos Protection Forest, and the Yanesha Communal Reserve. These areas protect the high watersheds of three economically and ecologically important rivers in the region.

did you know?

In the Central Selva, The Nature Conservancy and its partners are developing a climate-action project in collaboration with the Peruvian government to mitigate global warming, protect standing forests and restore native tree species.

Central Selva

Yungas tropical forest regenerates in the Río Santa Cruz valley in the park's buffer zone © Patrick Gonzalez

site profile

total area protected:
302,563 acres
map of site

 Yungas & Ucayali

partner organization:

Ecological Importance

More than eighty mammal species live in the protected area, including agouti, jaguar, tapir, capybara, collared peccary, spectacled bear, and giant river otter. More than 450 species of birds can be found in the tree canopies of the reserve, including macaws, harpy eagles and the Andean cock-of-the-rock, Peru’s national bird. Nearly 30 species of migratory birds fly between this region and the United States, including the Blackburnian warbler, chimney swift, eastern kingbird, Mississippi kite, peregrine falcon, scarlet tanager and yellow-billed cuckoo.


The Central Selva region’s human population is rapidly growing and is home to over 100,000 people. Slash and burn agriculture and road construction are widespread, causing habitat destruction and the decline of numerous animal and plant communities. Unsustainable forestry, human settlement, and cattle grazing threaten the area’s hydrologic cycle and water quality upon which much of human and animal populations depend.

A Strategy of Success

Before PiP began working in the Central Selva in 1991, Yanachaga-Chemillen National Park lacked any funding outside of insufficient government funding. PiP provided the funds to hire park staff, build infrastructure, and purchase vehicles. Funding also made it possible for the development of a management plan which prepared the park for site consolidation in 1997. Today, PIP has expanded its scope to two additional protected areas and buffer zones in Central Selva and continues to support Conservation Area Planning (CAP) and further consolidation of the site in the PiP 2000 program.

The idea of a Central Selva Biosphere Reserve has been a dream for decades, and PiP is now beginning to make the dream a reality through Conservation Area Planning methodologies. PiP is working with organizations and local communities supportive of conservation to advance creation of the reserve. An organizing committee will guide the activities of the participating institutions under one conservation vision. PiP is working to align local and regional governments and institutions to embrace environmental conservation within their overall operations.

Courses on sustainable resource use are being held in local communities on topics such as organic gardening, livestock management, and organic fertilizers. The municipal government of the Iscozacin district donated a piece of land to be used as the headquarters to support the management of three protected areas:  Yanachaga Chemillán National Park, Yanesha Communal Reserve and the San Matías-San Carlos Protection Forest.  The previous headquarters were 10 hours away in the central office of INRENA.

Complementing the system of protected areas, PiP is also supporting the consolidation of a municipal reserve that protects a unique ecosystem of dwarf forests, which harbor an array of orchid species and supplies potable water to the city of Villa Rica.  

PiP is also developing environmental awareness in local communities with an environmental education plan for the region and offering courses on natural resource management. The project also financed the publication and distribution of the book “Healthy Environment and Sustainable Development: Duties and Rights,” a user-friendly manual on contemporary environmental legislation and issues, in addition to the Conservation Area Plan for the Central Selva Biosphere Reserve, as well as the Yanachaga Chemillén National Park Master Plan for 2005-2010.

Read more about Central Selva/Yanachaga-Chemillén...


Read more about projects in Peru...

Bahuaja-Sonene National Park
Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve
Paracas National Reserve

Peru Partner Organizations

The Nature Conservancy in Peru