Manu National Park
Information from UNEP
(United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation
NAME Manu National Park
IUCN MANAGEMENT CATEGORY
II (National Park)
Natural World Heritage Site - Criteria ii, iii
BIOGEOGRAPHICAL PROVINCE 8.05.01 / 8.35.12 / 8.36.12
(Amazonia / Yungas / Puna).
GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION The park is located in the
provinces of Manu and Paucartambo (Departments of Madre de Dios
and Cuzco respectively), comprising lands on the eastern slopes
of the Andes and on the Peruvian Amazones. The limits to the north
are the watershed separating the catchment basins of Manu and de
las Piedras rivers (72° 01'W, 11° 17'S); to the south the
area where the road from Paucartambo to the north-west turns to
Tres Cruces (71° 30'W, 13° 11'S); to the east the region
on the left margin of the Alto Madre de Dios River to the Pilcopata
River, Department of Cuzco (71° 10'W, 12° 18'S); and to
the west the watershed separating the catchment basins of the Manu
and Camisea Rivers - also the limit between the Departments of Cuzco
and Madre de Dios (72° 22'W, 11° 45'S).
DATE AND HISTORY OF ESTABLISHMENT Established
by Supreme Decree No. 644-73-AG, 29 May 1973, and fully protected.
Internationally recognized as a Biosphere Reserve under UNESCO's
Man and the Biosphere Programme in 1977, along with Manu Reserved
Zone established by Supreme Resolution No. 151-1980, and adjacent
areas of human settlement. Manu National Park was inscribed on the
World Heritage List in 1987.
AREA Manu National Park covers 1,532,806ha. In
addition to this the Biosphere Reserve includes a 257,000ha Reserved
Zone, and a further 91,395ha 'cultural zone', giving a total area
LAND TENURE State
ALTITUDE From 365m (Manu River mouth) to 4,000m
PHYSICAL FEATURES The park is located on the eastern
slopes of he Andes and extends down from precipitous mountains.
The entire area is situated within the Amazon River basin and protects
almost the entire watershed of the River Manu and most of the tributaries
of the River Alto Madre de Dios. Alluvial plains are found along
the rivers where sediments may be deposited on a seasonal basis.
The hills occupy the lowlands between the rivers and are relatively
small with slopes between 15% and 50%, forming an undulating topography,
which covers much of the park. The alluvial plains and hills above
1,500m mainly comprise sedimentary rocks of the Superior Tertiary
(1 to 111 million years old) and Recent Quaternary (less than 1
million years old). The mountainous area above 1,500m is formed
of sedimentary and metamorphic rocks of the Precambrian and Palaeozoic
era (more than 440 million years old). The adjacent reserved zone
mainly comprises the flood plains of the lower Manu river, down
to its confluence with the Rio Alto Madre de Dios, and over long
periods of time the river has wandered over the plain leaving a
number of ox-bow lakes.
CLIMATE The area has a wide range of climates,
from the cold, dry Andes to the hot, humid Amazon forests. There
are however, no long term records of rainfall or temperature in
the park, and up to 1985 continuous records of rainfall were only
available for two years (1976 and 1982). At the Biological Station
of Cocha Cashu (400m), the rainfall between September 1976 and August
1977 was 2100mm. There is a rainy season from October to April with
an average monthly rainfall of more than 200mm. From early May to
late September rainfall decreases to less than 100mm per month.
There is a slight variation of air temperature during the year.
The coldest month is June with an average temperature of 11.1°
C the hottest month is October with 25.4° C. There are virtually
no records of rainfall within the park above 650m. At Pilcopata
(650m) the mean annual rainfall (1971-1980) was 3929mm and all months
have more than 100mm of rain. July is the driest month with an average
rainfall of 188mm. Higher up into the Andes rainfall drops again,
and temperatures fall significantly to average a few degrees above
zero. Fog is common all year round in mountain forest regions.
VEGETATION With a park the size of Manu, with
a wide range of altitude, vegetation varies widely, however the
most widespread vegetation types found are tropical lowland rainforest,
tropical montane rainforest and Puna vegetation (grasslands). The
lowland forests occur on the alluvial plains and the interfluvial
hills. Those on the hills may experience seasonal water supply,
given the monthly variation in rainfall, while the forests on the
alluvial plains are likely to be seasonally flooded. The montane
forests experience less variation in the water supply and are exposed
to lower temperatures. The management plan (La Molina, 1986) maps
14 forest types using the Holdridge system (after Tosi, 1960), although,
given the lack of rainfall data, this must be to some extent speculative.
Despite the high diversity of plant species in this region, the
flora of Manu is still poorly known and floristic inventories must
be considered as preliminary (Gentry, 1985). The few collections
of plants are those of Foster (1985) and Gentry (1985) made in the
alluvial plains near the Biological Station, and in the Tres Cruces
region of the uplands. Other collections have been made by Terborgh
(1985) and Janson (1985) on trees where birds and primates obtain
food. Despite this, in the last ten years, 1147 plant species have
been identified in the park within quite a small area (500ha), and
it is likely that the number of species to be found within the park
is well over this figure. More recent data (Saavedra, 1989) indicate
1,200 lowland vascular species and a single one hectare plot near
the Cocha Cashu research station supported more than 200 tree species.
In a hectare plot on the alluvial plains, 17 trees with a diameter
of more than 70cm were found (4 to 11 trees with such a diameter
would be more usual). The biggest tree was a Ceiba pentandra (120cm),
while others included the locally rare Poulsenia armata (110cm)
and Calycophyllum sp. (117cm), and locally endangered Swietenia
macrophylla (105cm) and Dipteryx odorata (100cm). The most common
tree in the plot was Otoba parviflora (IK), and other highly abundant
species included palms of the genera Astrocaryum, Iriartea and Scheelea,
two species of Quararibea (Bombacaceae), Guarea and Trichilia (both
Meliaceae from the subcanopy), one Pouteria (Sapotaceae), Pseudolmedia
laevis (Moraceae) and Theobroma cacao (Sterculiaceae). Another striking
feature of these forests is the high abundance of Ficus spp., of
which there are at least 18 species - only 15 Ficus species are
mentioned in the Flora of Peru (Standley, 1937). Lianas are common,
and 79 lianas of 43 species were found within 1,000 sq.m. With the
current knowledge of the flora of the park it is not possible to
give a detailed account of threatened, endemic or potentially economically
important species. Swietenia macrophylla and Cedrela odorata which
grow in almost pure stands, are two of the species economically
important for their wood, while Theobroma cacao and Quararibea cordata
(IK) are both cultivated for their fruits outside the park.
FAUNA A total of more than 800 bird species (Saavedra,
1989) and 200 species of mammals has been identified, 500 birds
alone from the lowland forests around Cocha Cashu Biological Station,
and the check lists of Terborgh, Janson and Brecht (1984) give habitats,
foraging position, activity (sociability) and abundance for all
birds and mammals found up to 1982. The bird species found in Manu
represent 25% of all the birds known in South America and 10% of
all the species in the world and it is thought that there may be
as many 1,000 bird species in total. According to Renton (1990),
six species of macaw occur in the lowland forest, Ara ararauna,
A. chloroptera, A. macao, A. severa, and A. manilata. Three Endemic
Bird Areas are represented within the park, the South-east Peruvian
lowlands (B30), home to 15 restricted range species, the Eastern
Andes of Peru (B29), with 11 restricted range species, and the Western
Andes of Peru (B27) with 30 restricted range species (ICBP, 1992).
There are 13 species of monkey, and it is estimated that there are
over 100 species of bat. There are also 12 species of reptiles within
7 families (UNA-CEPID, 1986), and 77 species of Amphibian from fire
families are known for the Cocha Cashu area (Rodriguez, in press).
There are no check lists available for invertebrates, although it
has been estimated that the park contains around 500,000 species
of arthropod. Again, most of the information has been gathered in
the lowlands, and little detailed information is available on mountain
fauna. Species known to be globally threatened which occur in the
park include woolly monkey Lagothrix lagotricha, Emperor tamarin
Saguinus imperator, giant otter Pteronura brasiliensis (VU), giant
anteater Myrmecophaga tridactyla (VU), giant armadillo Priodontes
maximus (EN), ocelot Felis pardalis, Andean cat Oreailurus jacobita
(VU), jaguar Panthera onca, small-eared zorro Atelocynus microtis
(DD), bush dog Speothos venaticus (VU), North Andean Huemul Hippocamelus
antisensis (DD), spectacled bear Tremarctos ornatus (VU), crocodile
crocodilus crocodilus, and black caiman Melanosuchus niger (EN).
Fish species identified by Groenendijk and Hajek (1995) which are
eaten by the local poplulation include gamitana Colossoma macroponum,
paco Piaratus brachypomus red-tailed sabalo Brycon erythropterum,
boquichico Prochilodus nigricans, lisa Leporinus trifasciatus and
lisa Schizodon fasciatus.
CULTURAL HERITAGE The park is inhabited by at
least four different native groups: the Machiguenga (or Yora), the
Mascho-Piro, the Yaminahua and the Amahuaca. The best known and
largest ethnic group within the park is the Machiguenga, found throughout
the area with the exception of the highlands and upper parts of
the Manu river. The forest indians are nomadic, mostly subsistent
on some form of rootcrop agriculture on alluvial soils along river
banks and lakes, on hunting along water courses and inside the forest,
on fishing and on the collection of turtle eggs (Jungius, 1976).
Shifting cultivation is the basic agricultural practice. In this
system, a patch of primary forest or an abandoned field is cleared,
burned and used during the first, second and sometimes third year
for cultivation. The field is then abandoned for at least five years
and a new one is opened up. As it is easier to clear secondary growth
on abandoned fields than to clear the primary forest, the indians
prefer to re-use old fields. These peoples are considered part of
the park's natural system, and are left to use the park as they
please while their lifestyle does not threaten the park's objectives.
LOCAL HUMAN POPULATION Most of the people within
the park are indians. The Machiguenga tribe, which is the best known,
was reported by Ferrero (1967) to have a total population of 5,000
people, and by Varese (1972) 12,000. Very little is known about
the Amahuaca and Yaminahua distribution and their numbers are relatively
small. Varese (1972) recorded some 4,000 Amahuaca along the Curanga,
Inuya and Sepanua rivers, and 2,000 Yaminahua along the Carija Basin
and Piedra Rivers. However, the management plan (La Molina, 1986)
suggests that only 300-500 natives of different tribes live in the
park. There are no towns in the park, but there is are some 70,000
Quechua speaking inhabitants grouped in 30 rural communities in
the high Andean zone, which is adjacent to the park in the Province
of Paucartambo. In 1980, most people living outside the park were
miners (over 50%), the remainder being principally peasant farmers
or fishermen (over 25%).
VISITORS AND VISITOR FACILITIES Since 1980 the
Park has received 250-300 visitors annually, usually in organized
groups. There were no accommodation facilities inside the park,
and all visitors had to come equipped with food and camping equipment.
In 1986 the first permanent tourist lodge was built, and by the
late 1980s some 500 visitors came to the park annually, usually
during the May to October dry season. A study on the impact of tourism
on the park has been undertaken (Dunstone, 1989). There are two
main routes into the park, a gravel road from Cuzco to Salvacion
(where the Administration Centre of the park is located), followed
by travel along the river, or by air from Cuzco (although again
river travel is necessary to get up into the area). The overland
journey takes up to 1.5 days. Tourist camps exist within cultural
and reserved zones adjacent to the park (WWF and IUCN, 1997). According
to Janson (1994), six tourism companies operate 20-bed lodges in
Manu, run on sustainable principles.
SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AND FACILITIES The first collections
in Manu were made at the end of the 1950s by Celestino Kalinowski,
who sold birds, mammals and reptiles to several museums around the
world. The first research was done on the black cayman by Kai Otte,
assisted by Ranger Jorge Cardenas. After that in 1974 a group of
scientists from Princetown University and Chicago University (US)
began a series of long-term ecological studies on primates around
Cocha Cashu Biological Station, which had been established in 1969
by the National Agrarian University La Molina. In 1975 botanical
and ornithological studies were added to the primate studies. In
1981, a donation by WWF was used to construct a new facility for
scientific research. Since 1983, the Cocha Cashu Biological Station
accommodates between 20 and 30 researcher workers each year. Although
the main programmes are in primates, birds and floristic inventories,
there are other projects on mammals (Pteronura brasiliensis, Felis
spp.), reptiles (Melanosuchus), ants and the population dynamics
of the yellow spotted sideneck turtle Podocnemis unifilis (VU).
Cocha Cashu Biological Station is located 45km northwest from the
mouth of Rio Manu (80km upstream) and about 8km inside the border
of Manu National Park. It consists of two thatch-roofed houses and
a network of trails totaling roughly 20km. A report on the impact
of tourism, bats, fish and birds has been compiled (Dunstone, 1989).
In 1994, the Imperial College Manu expedition studied orchid and
fish diversity (Groenendijk and Hajek, 1995).
CONSERVATION VALUE Manu National Park is probably
the most biologically diverse protected area in the world. It contains
nearly all the ecological formations of eastern Peru: tropical lowland
forest; montane forest and puna grasslands, with their respective
flora and fauna. Consequently, Manu is the most exclusive and representative
park in the Amazon basin. Some botanists claim that Manu has more
plant species than any other protected area on the earth.
The 850 bird species found in Manu represent 15% of all the bird
species in the world. There are at least 13 wildlife species in
the park known to be globally threatened including black caiman,
giant otter and ocelot. There is also a diverse number of fish,
amphibians and invertebrates and it has been estimated that the
park contains at least 500,000 species of arthropods (IUCN Technical
CONSERVATION MANAGEMENT Manu National Park is
fully protected by a National Supreme Decree. There are two main
objectives for the park, to preserve the environment and species
diversity, and to provide an area for recreation and education of
the general public. Most of the tourist and research pressure is
however directed to the adjacent reserved zone. A management plan
has been drafted and is being implemented by means of three programmes,
Environmental Management, Public Use and Operations. The park has
been divided into 4 zones, the largest by far being a restricted
zone mostly of undisturbed forest, accessible only to authorized
researchers, official visitors and scientific tourist groups. There
are two recreational areas, in Ajanaco-Tres Cruces where there are
200ha, and in the reserved zone of 257,000ha adjacent to the park,
as well as a cultural zone where fishing, hunting and logging is
permitted. There is also a recuperation zone located in the Andean
pastures, where burning and cattle raising are being controlled.
Service zones comprises small areas around control posts or the
Biological Station, in some cases outside the park. There is an
administrative headquarters, five operational control posts, one
of which is located outside the park on the lower Manu River to
discourage potential loggers and poachers. By the early 1980s all
illegal logging along the Manu River had been stopped. Efforts have
been made to integrate local inhabitants into the management of
the park and a sustained programme of personnel training, health
care, education and rural development are likely to continue to
contribute to Manu's protection (Saavedra, 1989).
MANAGEMENT CONSTRAINTS There are about 4,000 head
of cattle in the upper parts of the park (Puna). Cattle owners burn
the grasslands regularly to provide new grasses for the cattle.
There is also a cattle raising project on Meseta Pantiacolla in
the southwest of the park. Colonization is threatening the reserve
on the eastern boundary of the park, along the Palatoa and Pinipini
rivers. It has been suggested that resettlement of these families
is needed in order to protect the park (Peru, 1986). A North American
company has the rights for gold mining along the Palatoa River on
the eastern limit of the park. If significant quantities of gold
are found it is possible that large numbers of people might be attracted
to the area. Poachers enter the park along the Sipituali River,
the northwest side of the park (Fitzcarrald istmo) and between the
Camisea and Manu rivers (Peru, 1986). On the eastern limit of the
park (Pinipini, Pitama and Tono rivers) and on the south boundary
of the park (uplands) there are illegal and licensed loggers. Most
of this activity is being done on the mountain forest where species
such as Polycepis spp. and Alnus jorullensis are being cut for fire
wood. The Peruvian Government has appropriated two sections of the
park for oil prospecting which violates the "Ley Forestal"
(Forestry law). Fortunately no work have been done yet, but it remains
a potential danger (Peru, 1986). The 'Marginal Highway of the Jungle'
(La Carretera Marginal de la Selva) is planned along the Manu River
to connect Urubamba with the Madre de Dios area. This project could
lead to the settlement of thousands of people along the road and
would be a major threat to the park. Efforts are being made to relocate
the road outside the park with good results, and technical governmental
offices have now proposed an alternative. In November 1983, a public
awareness campaign was launched to avert several threats facing
the park: road and canal construction, decreasing budget, delays
in paying salaries. Peruvian conservation organizations, grouped
together under the Technical Committee for the Defence of Manu,
with political endorsement prevented the road and canal construction.
Radios, boats and field equipment deteriorate rapidly, although
these are routinely repaired or replaced. In common with all Peruvian
protected areas there has been an erosion of budgets, and widespread
political turmoil has weakened the park (Saavedra, 1989). A severe
cutback in the number of park guards may affect the integrity of
the park (WWF, 1997).
STAFF Manu National Park has three professional
staff and 29 technicians and park rangers (Saavedra, 1989), based
at the headquarters in Salvacion, and at the ranger stations.
BUDGET The Peruvian Government pays about US$200,000
annually for salaries and running expenses of the park. From 1968
to 1977, WWF provided a total of US$73,675 for the park.
Manu National Park is under the jurisdiction of the "Corporation
de Desarrollo de Madre de Dios" (CORDEMAD) and the "Direccion
General forestal y de Fauna (DGFF). The DGFF is in charge of general
operations while CORDEMAD is responsible for the day-to-day management.
Park headquarters is at Salvacion, although there is also an office
in Cuzco (Heladeros 157 of.34, Apartado 1057, Cuzco).
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