Grazing animals within the protected area
Alternatives must be provided so that ranching occurs outside of the park, in lower areas where wells can be built to provide water to water pasture for the cattle. The protected area’s Management Committee should propose a temporary agreement between the ranchers and the Natural Protected Areas Agency so that the ranchers using the area comply with and respect their obligations to the park, while a more permanent solution that offers alternatives outside of the park are created.
The area’s residents themselves suggest that the problem could be resolved with more water. They say that they have to search for water to store in the canals built by FONCODES 12 years ago, and that they have to make sure that the shrimp harvesters in Chicama do not contaminate the water. They say that building wells would resolve the water storage problem.
At the end of the day, cattle ranching as it is currently practiced in the region is not that productive. Improved cattle should be introduced outside of the protected area, so that there is higher production, more benefits, and less impact.
Grazing animals—goats and cattle—must be kept outside of the national park. Those ranchers that entered the area after it was declared protected should be removed and evicted. The category “National Park” does not allow direct use of the natural resources, which means grazing is prohibited. However, ranchers established in the area before it became a national park have certain grandfather rights that protect them from outright eviction. Therefore, the ranchers who were present before the park was created should carry out sustainable cattle management in coordination with the Natural Protected Areas Agency’s instruments and management plans; they should following the zoning, corral usage, territory rotations, and formal registration of number of heads of cattle present in the zone. If the ranchers do not comply with the established agreements as put forth in the management plans, they should be removed and evicted from the area.
The ranchers’ use of dogs needs to be monitored. We recommend restricting the number of dogs permitted in the reserved zone. We also recommend that the owners assure that their dogs are disease-free in order to avoid wildlife contamination. Ranches should not be allowed to carry any tool unrelated to grazing, such as axes, and chainsaws, among others.
Ecuadorian ranchers should be prohibited. The National Police and the Military responsible for border control should be instructed and trained to stop Ecuadorian cattle-raisers from crossing the border. INRENA should coordinate with both institutions and provide institutional and political support to implement this measure.
Actually, the protected area’s administration has already ruined relations with the National Ranchers Society (SONAGAN). There is no dialogue between the two groups and actually there is no communication at all. INRENA needs to change this negative and inefficient policy and reestablish communication with this group. It is a fact that there are ranchers in the protected area and INRENA needs to learn how to deal with this reality and take the lead to improve the situation. Essential components include keeping communication channels open and continued dialogue.
Good relations and open dialogue will help the protected area’s administration coordinate directly with cattle owners and the people using the protected area to avoid indiscriminate use and negative impacts on the resources. Regulations and a concrete management plan for grazing animals are needed. We suggest coming to agreement on temporary use of the land, with rotating schedules. The system needs to be evaluated and adapted if need be.
Once agreements are reached with ranchers, the area’s administration needs to enforce the stipulations of the agreements. They should round up stray cattle, capture cattle in unapproved areas, and fine the rancher for each captured cow or goat. To do this, an organized system of fines and fees needs to be established and legitimized by a resolution (at the Ministerial, Directorial, or Departmental level), which would allow park guards to implement the system. The system would need to include a specific list of violations and the amount of fines. It should be promulgated as soon as possible. The area’s administration should strictly implement the regulations and prohibit the ranchers from transgressing.
Timber extraction from within the national park must be stopped. In addition, an efficient control of forestry resources surrounding the protected area is needed. The area’s forests grow slowly because of long dry seasons and lack of rain and therefore, forestry management requires large areas in order to properly rotate and space cuts.
Better border control is needed to stop Ecuadorian extractors. Specific directives to stop Ecuadorians could be given to the border police and military. Clandestine roads heading towards the border should be destroyed and decommissioned so that the extractors cannot gain access.
The Technical Administration Office of Forestry and Wildlife Control needs additional logistic support so that they could have true field capacity and constant presence in their control posts. INRENA’s Forestry Office should maintain close ties with INRENA’s Natural Protected Areas Agency to best take advantage of logistic resources and to have better control of the forestry resources.
INRENA needs to carry out an information campaign explaining its different agencies—specifically, they need to describe the roles and tasks of the Natural Protected Areas Agency and the Forestry Office and what responsibilities the citizens have to each. These campaigns should also discourage outsiders from entering the protected area to harvest wood. The message of such a campaign should be clear: timber harvesting is a restricted activity.
Locals should have a more active role when it comes to security and denouncing illegal wood trafficking. Local control and security committees formed by the communities should receive support and training. We suggest promoting these grass-roots committees in places where they do not exist. These committees should coordinate directly with INRENA’s Natural Protected Areas Agency and its Forestry Office. These committees should be backed by corresponding legislation and should receive control and monitoring support. Local governments should be informed and coordinate with the committees regarding management plans and local control. The local authorities need more backing from the judicial branch to punish perpetrators. Intersectorial work is needed to elaborate control strategies with participation from locals, civil organizations. We recommend participative strategies to control and manage the protected area.
In the nearby coastal valleys, one of the principal productive activities is fruit cultivation: cherries, apples, cucumbers, peaches, grapes, and limes. Further north, mangos for export is a lucrative business. To transport these fruits, they use wooden boxes. These boxes that are used only once are made from soft woods, such as: palosanto, pasallo and porotillo. If there were timber plantations of these species, there would be no problem. However, the last remaining trees growing on the western Andean slopes are cut for this purpose. Another idea is to promote the use of agroforestry species that grow fast, such as willows and river she-oak. Another idea is to reuse the boxes, disarming then rebuilding them. These solutions are more costly than status quo, but in the end, permanent impoverishment of Peru’s northern lands is even more expensive (41).
Charcoal extraction should be strictly controlled. This activity should be limited to the guidelines set forth in the required management plans. Extraction and charcoal production should be prohibited within the national park. Outside of the park, charcoal production should be managed and monitored. Volume limits and permitted species should be followed. Tree selection should be done carefully. Charcoal producers should be encouraged to reforest certain zones and to care for the forest. In addition, from a public health standpoint, the producers themselves should receive nasal protection masks to prevent lung damage from inhaled smoke. Mutually beneficial actions like these could help both the producers and INRENA make concessions to better meet their respective goals.
Overharvesting of non-timber forest products
Since a national park carries the strictest protection of the protected areas, all harvesting of forest products is illegal and should be stopped and eradicated.
Apiculture is an alternative to produce honey and reduce pressure on the native, wild honeybees. Nonetheless, the apiculturists must demonstrate that they have sufficient knowledge to manage the bee panels. Untrained apiculturists cause the most damage to their cultivated hives as well as to wild honeybees. They should demonstrate that they have sufficient knowledge to maintain sanitary hives and avoid disease propagation. They should also be able to guarantee that they can keep their bees contained so that swarms will not escape and displace native bees.
Hunting must be done sustainably. To do so, research is needed on the current state of the target species and their populations’ general ecological characteristics. Sustainable hunting should be permitted only outside of the national park. Outside of the park, subsistence hunting is permitted and it should be conducted according to the master plan and according to traditional methods as long as they are not explicitly prohibited or target endangered species. Commercial hunting needs to be stopped. There should be in intense environmental education campaign directed at the hunters (suppliers) and the buyers (the demand side).
The corresponding municipalities should deal with the garbage and solid waste from their territories. The municipalities and rural authorities would need training and consultants to help them confront their jurisdictions’ garbage problems. The training should include topics that would help them select alternatives, such as collection, final disposal, separation of garbage, and sanitary dumps.
Tumbes River contamination is more complicated since the problem involves Ecuador and therefore the solution depends on more than just the Peruvian authorities. Any attempt to resolve the issue should be coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and should be considered within a bilateral development program.
Garbage cans and receptacles should be located in appropriate places near tourist destinations. Awareness must be raised with visitors regarding trash management. They should be informed about garbage management as soon as they request entrance permits. Local residents should join such an awareness campaign so that they don’t continue to litter and to raise the general level of awareness regarding garbage and tourism management.
The chemical poisons used to harvest fresh water shrimp have contaminated the area’s wells, creeks, and rivers thereby breaking the law (42). The authorities should adopt a firm policy and sanction anyone found poisoning the waterways. Interinstitutional coordination is essential in order to implement the existing legislation and stop this type of contamination. Institutions such as the protected area’s administration, political and judicial authorities in the region, the National Police, the Sub prefect, Justice of the Peace, etc. should be included. The authorities should publicize that anyone caught poisoning the waters will be put in jail. INRENA and the police should try to set a precedent and capture someone as soon as possible so that the local community will know that they are serious. Hopefully this will discourage other potential violators from continuing to poison the creeks and harming wildlife.
Many locals recognize that the chemical poisons have practically eliminated shrimp from the rivers. They comment that they can no longer find shrimp in the creeks or fresh water pools. This is also true for other fish species. An exhaustive study is needed of the fresh-water shrimp (called “Chicama” locally) to determine the number of remaining individuals and understand its ecological aspects (such as fecundity, longevity, mating rituals, feeding habits, natural enemies, mortality, diseases) for its management. The creeks also need to be evaluated; specifically a sediment analysis and benthic study is needed to evaluate the amount of chemical residuals. Other species such as the Chaetostoma micropf, should be evaluated as well.
Exotic species are present throughout the protected area, and therefore eradicating them requires a major effort. We recommend establishing a program to eradicate exotic species from within the park and its surrounding areas. Financing must be secured to implement eradication actions, help must be sought from local residents and institutions involved with the protected area. We also recommend forming volunteer teams, that incorporate local students, to work to remove exotic species.