The Las Piedras River contains one of the last frontier forests in the Southern Peruvian Amazon. Flowing from North to South, the river continues for 621 kilometers until it flows into the Madre de Dios River on its way into Bolivia and eventually the Amazon River. The source of the Las Piedras is far into the Alto Purús National Park, and the river travels through protected indigenous territories where several voluntarily isolated tribes remain. These tribes provide an invaluable buffer between increasing immigration and some of the most pristine rainforest left in the world. Little research has been done in this northern section due to the isolation, and sheltered within is some of the last habitat for intact mahogany stands and other desirable timber species. The river also passes through native communities including Monte Salvado and Puerto Nuevo before reaching Lucerna, the nearest village across from Hoja Nueva headquarters.
PC: Gaby Wiederkehr
The Las Piedras River is rich with biodiversity. Prior to the construction of the inter-oceanic highway, much of the surrounding area was inaccessible by road and therefore escaped the high hunting pressures of other major river basins in the area, such as the Madre de Dios and Tambopata River. Along the river and in nearby forests there are often sightings of jaguar, capybara, ocelot, tapir, agouti, spider monkey, black caiman, anaconda, and more, not to mention the more elusive animals caught on camera trap! See our gallery pages to view photos from over 100 camera traps we’ve placed in the region to document threatened species of Peru.
PC: Harry Turner
While national parks and indigenous territories protect the northern reaches of the Las Piedras, the southern section remains forest management land or completely unprotected. With the unavoidable settlement of loggers and farmers branching off from the inter-oceanic highway, Hoja Nueva hopes to practice a method of cacao agroforestry that serves as an example of how to cultivate a cash crop while preserving the incredible biodiversity of the region. We believe that the best way to protect the forest as a whole is by working alongside and influencing the attitudes of the people who live in and among the forest landscape.