The Amazon stands as the largest rainforest globally, boasting unparalleled biodiversity and serving as the habitat for rare plant and animal species, as well as a substantial population of indigenous people. This dynamic and ecologically essential rainforest spans across Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia.
Regrettably, the Amazon faces an escalating threat of deforestation due to activities such as clearing land for agriculture, animal farming, logging, mining, infrastructure development, and industrial projects. Over the years, extensive portions of the rainforest have been cut down and burned for these economic pursuits. Since 1988, an average of 10,000 acres of the Amazon has been lost to deforestation daily, with approximately 4.8 million acres destroyed in 2021 alone.
The expansion of commercial ventures is accelerating the clearance of this natural wonder at an alarming and unsustainable pace. Extensive deforestation in the Amazon has led to the extinction of numerous plant and animal species, as well as the displacement and endangerment of local indigenous communities.
Moreover, deforestation poses a significant threat to one of the most vital defenses against the looming climate crisis—the Amazon’s remarkable capacity to serve as a massive ‘carbon sink’ by absorbing CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.
Fortunately, the current year has brought a ray of positive news, as the loss of forest cover witnessed a significant decline of 55.8% from January to November 2023 compared to the same period the previous year. This marks a substantial and encouraging advancement in the global fight against climate change.
The swift progress can be attributed to recent political transformations in Brazil. Under the leadership of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a new administration with a strong environmental focus is taking decisive measures to safeguard South America’s largest biome. Since assuming office at the beginning of the year, Lula has instituted penalties for land encroachment, expelled illegal miners, expanded the demarcation of indigenous land, and established new conservation areas.
President Lula’s ambitious commitment to halt illegal deforestation in the Amazon by 2030 has garnered support within the region. In August, the eight South American nations encompassing the Amazon rainforest collectively embraced the zero-deforestation pledge. This collaborative effort represents the most ambitious governmental initiative to safeguard and preserve the world’s largest rainforest. Lula emphasizes that this commitment will persist, with ongoing reductions planned leading up to the United Nations climate conference COP30, scheduled to be hosted by Brazil in the city of Belém in 2025.
We are dedicated to acting responsibly and advocating for sustainable practices throughout our operations in the Peruvian Amazon. Our conscientious small-ship expeditions prioritize environmental and social responsibility, emphasizing contributions to local communities. This commitment has paved the way for more sustainable river and sea explorations while imparting knowledge to crew, guests, and local communities about the vital importance of preserving these delicate ecosystems. Our environmental initiatives extend to repopulating endangered species, including the paiche fish and taricaya turtles in the Amazon.
Our steadfast commitment to environmental preservation in the Peruvian Amazon extends to food sustainability. This is evident in the authentic Peruvian dishes served aboard our Amazon vessels, Aqua Nera and Aria Amazon. We take pride in our enduring partnership with the internationally acclaimed Peruvian chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, a pioneer in ‘Rainforest-to-Table’ cuisine. Schiaffino utilizes native Amazonian ingredients, collaborates closely with local farmers and food producers, and ensures responsible sourcing of produce.
In 2010, Schiaffino established Despensa Amazonica, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting environmental and economic sustainability in the Amazon through food. Since 2017, the organization has facilitated connections between sustainable paiche fishermen in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve and chefs in Lima’s top restaurants. This initiative has led to increased wages for participating fishermen, more responsible fisheries regulation, and access to fresh, whole paiche for Lima restaurants. Schiaffino also collaborates with local communities, assisting them in commercializing, marketing, and selling various products, from smoked salt and piquant sauces to a nutritious peanut and corn beverage. This increased financial stability empowers communities to resist the encroachment of logging companies and other environmentally destructive forces on their land.