AMA Estancia Update, August 2016
The first half of 2016 has brought big advancements to our conservation efforts at Reserva Ecologica Panamaes, the 1,200 acre forest preserve that surrounds AMA Estancia. In March we published our inaugural Sustainability Report, which details the 7 years of reforestation and conservation efforts we've completed at the Reserve and provides a detailed overview of the mission and principles that drive our past and future efforts. The report, which is available to download in English and Spanish on our website (click here), highlights that we have planted 60 hectares of new forest and over 60,000 trees - a 60% increase in forest cover regeneration since 2003.
In the report, we expand on our belief that sustainability goes beyond the environment. In the past quarter, we have had a strong focus on the social impact of our conservation efforts:
A VISIT FROM MAYOR BATISTA
Miguel Batista, the Mayor of Pedasi, the small town nearest to AMA Estancia, recently visited the Reserve to discuss ideas for how we can contribute to the community through various projects, such as planting trees in Pedasi, starting an organic waste collection and composting operation, producing and giving away trees throughout the community, and working with the Los Destiladeros school. Mayor Batista greatly enjoyed the property tour, but was perhaps most curious about our newly completed Compost & Recycling Center, as inspiration for how waste management might be made more sustainable in Pedasi in the future.
LOS DESTILADEROS SCHOOL
We held a talk in collaboration with la Fundacion Agua y Tierra (Earth and Water Foundation) in July to teach the children about sea turtles in Panama and the threats to their survival, namely poaching by humans. During the first week of August, we began construction of our sea turtle nursery on Panamaes beach and invited the school children to attend and see the steps we're taking to protect turtles on our beaches.
These social impact projects highlight two important updates to our ongoing Eco-Tourism and Turtle Conservation projects, both of which are detailed extensively in our Sustainability Report:
COMPOST AND RECYCLING CENTER
The Compost and Recycling Center, completed in May, ensures that all organic and recyclable waste from the property is reused or recycled instead of sent to landfill. Through our composting center, pictured here, the organic waste at the property is turned into a valuable asset: compost that nourishes our farms, nurseries, landscape and reforestation project.
Turtle Conservation Program
August is the beginning of nesting season, and thus we have begun the construction of our sea turtle nursery on Panamaes beach. To prepare, our sustainability team went to see the construction of a turtle nursery in Mata Oscura on the other side of the Azuero. This was a great experience to learn from and participate in the construction of a nursery, connect with researchers and ultimately source 2 great candidates to monitor our beaches and run the nursery.
Nesting sea turtles are just a few of the species sitings at the Reserve recently:
Through a collaboration with MiAmbiente, the government of Panama's Environmental Ministry, we have an ongoing collaboration to relocate native fauna to the reserve. In June and July, MiAmbiete visited the reserve to release parakeets, who have settled into our reforestation forest.
Trail Camera Wildlife Spotting
Thanks to our trail cameras, we have been able to spot some incredible species at the reserve, including a Jaguarundi and White-tailed Deer - both endangered species.
This summer also welcomed the first stage of our research program at Reserva Ecologica Panamaes. We have partnered with NAU school of forestry to study and develop adaptive restoration strategies for improved productivity and resilience to climate change impacts and exotic species.
Researchers from NAU explore the reserve with their children in preparation to bring their tropical ecology and conservation course to the reserve next year in the fall.
NAU masters student, Yann Oliver, is currently studying on the reserve. He's from Reunion Island and is doing his thesis here studying the dominant cohort of trees throughout the reserve and insect herbivory impacts.
Thank you for reading our quarterly update - please feel free to comment or email with any comments or questions, we'd love to hear from you. If you'd like to come stay at AMA Estancia and explore the reserve first-hand, the 2017 high season is filling up - email firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to reserve travel dates or plan your trip.