Meeting international commitments to protect 17% of terrestrial ecosystems worldwide will require >3 million square kilometers of new protected areas and strategies to create those areas in a way that respects local communities and land use. In 2000–2016, biological and social scientists worked to increase the protected proportion of Peru’s largest department via 14 interdisciplinary inventories covering >9 million hectares of this megadiverse corner of the Amazon basin. In each landscape, the strategy was the same: convene diverse partners, identify biological and sociocultural assets, document residents’ use of natural resources, and tailor the findings to the needs of decision-makers. Nine of the 14 landscapes have since been protected (5.7 million hectares of new protected areas), contributing to a quadrupling of conservation coverage in Loreto (from 6 to 23%). We outline the methods and enabling conditions most crucial for successfully applying similar campaigns elsewhere on Earth.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Rapid inventories in Loreto were funded by the Field Museum, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Hamill Family Foundation, Thomas W. Haas Foundation, Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, Blue Moon Fund, Boeing Company, Exelon Corporation, and Nalco Corporation. The writing of this paper was supported by a grant from the Field Museum Grainger Bioinformatics Center.
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