2002 Cordillera Azul / Los Amigos Team

The Founders' Council is delighted to present the seventh annual Parker/Gentry Award to an outstanding team of Peruvian conservationists in recognition of their leadership in bringing two remarkable Peruvian treasures, Cordillera Azul and Los Amigos, into the conservation spotlight. Their tireless efforts on behalf of these two regions culminated in the protection of the last large, intact tract of lower montane forest in Peru (Parque Nacional Cordillera Azul) and the establishment of Peru's first conservation concession (Los Amigos).

Cordillera Azul

Copyright Robin FosterOn May 22, 2001, Peru's President, Valentín Paniagua, signed a decree declaring a 5,225-square-mile national park, thereby protecting a pristine area of Andean rainforest that is bigger than Connecticut and extraordinarily rich in biodiversity. The new Parque Nacional Cordillera Azul - one of the largest parks in the world - is still undeveloped and largely uninhabited. Its creation is a major victory for conservation. The year before, biologists from The Field Museum partnered with Peruvian and international biologists to study the area and inventory its biodiversity. What they found was truly spectacular, including at least 28 new plant and animal species. Our team of awardees played instrumental roles in securing protection for this important park by quickly bringing it to the attention of the international conservation community, organizing and participating in the biological inventory, and deftly navigating the necessary administrative and legal requirements for protection of the region in lightning speed.

Los Amigos

Copyright Robin FosterOn July 24, 2001, President Paniagua signed another decree, this time creating the world's first conservation concession in the lower Los Amigos watershed of the densely forested Madre de Dios Department of Peru. 

This region is recognized as a center for terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity. The conservation concession will allow for the development of a center of expertise in tropical forest management, biodiversity science and training. A contractual agreement between the government and a nongovernmental organization, a conservation concession confers management responsibility for ecosystem and biodiversity conservation to the nongovernmental institution. This new mechanism for protecting biological resources was made possible by the efforts of the awardees, particularly in the creation of a new Peruvian Forestry Law that now allows for conservation concessions.

This team's commitment and dedication to protecting Peru's remarkable ecosystems and incredible biodiversity through innovative means exemplifies the spirit and objectives of The Field Museum's Parker/Gentry Award.

For more images and information about Cordillera Azul, visit the website for The Field Museum's Rapid Biological Inventories.


About the Recipients

Carlos Amat y León
Research Centre, Universidad del Pacífico
(previously Minister of Agriculture)

Lily Rodríguez
Director, Cordillera Azul National Park Projects,
Centro de Conservación, Investigación y Manejo
de Áreas Naturales

Lucía Ruiz
General Counsel,
Instituto Nacional de Recursos Naturales

Gustavo Suárez de Freitas
General Director of Protected Areas,
Instituto Nacional de Recursos Naturales

Enrique Toledo
Forestry Consultant

Gustavo Suárez de Freitas

A Peruvian forestry engineer, he graduated from the National Agrarian University at La Molina, with studies in the Master’s Program on Forest Resource Conservation, at that same University.

Since graduation, he has worked in nature conservation, mainly in natural protected areas and forest conservation. In 1983, he began to coordinate projects for the WWF/IUCN’s Standing Committee for Conservation Projects in Peru. He was the first staff person at the then new Peruvian Foundation for Nature Conservancy, in 1984. Working out of this institution – better known today by its shorter name, ProNaturaleza – until December 2000 he was in charge of planning and implementing several of the largest and most successful management projects for natural protected areas in Peru, incorporating integrated conservation and development approaches as well as other advanced tools. This experience contributed substantially to nourishing the participatory preparation process of the current Guiding Plan for the of Protected Areas System, as well as the new legal body on the subject, through which forestry legislation was modernized. The work of ProNaturaleza has been broadly recognized world-wide, through awards such as the WWF’s Getty Conservation Award, FAO’s Silver Medal, UNEP’s Global 500, and the TNC Messinger Award.

Mr. Suárez de Freitas is the Regional Vice-president and member of the Board of Directors of the IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), for the third consecutive period. He actively promotes cooperation between public and private institutions, as well as international and national ones, for the conservation of the tropical forests and better management of the protected areas. He has represented Peru at several international events, acting as Vice-president during the First Session of the United Nation’s World Forum on Forests, and as a spokesperson for the ITTO (International Tropical Timber Organization) producing countries. He also has carried out consulting assignments for prestigious organizations, such as the IUCN, BIB, WB, and IIED, has been a visiting professor at several universities and schools, and has written several publications on forests and protected areas.

Since August 2001, he is the current General Director of Natural Protected Areas of the National Institute for Natural Resources, where he also acted as General Forestry Director, between January and July 2001.

Enrique Toledo

Enrique Toledo is the forestry advisor of the Minister of Agriculture of Perú and he works towards the implementation of the forestry policy oriented for the sustainable development. Recently he has been elected as Executive Secretary of the Fondo de Promoción del Desarrollo Forestal-FONDEBOSQUE (Forestry Development Fund of Peru), a new private institution in charge of fundraising for forestry management, conservation, ecotourism, technical assistance and training projects.

He has over 20 years of work experience in the forestry sector in the Peruvian Amazon region, and has been an international consultant of FAO, ITTO, Amazon Cooperation Treaty, ICRAF, CIDA and European Union. He worked as a consultant for Hardner and Gullison Associates in charge of developing projects for the creation of the Cordillera Azul National Park and for the first conservation concession in Peru.

He enjoys listening to classical music and admires the oil paintings that his wife, Marcia, does. He has two daughters, Marcia and Natalia, and is very proud of having them developed in environment/forestry and economy careers. Dining out and watching movies are his favorite activities with the family.