Our work is focused on a critical place on Earth. The headwaters region of the southwestern Amazon is a leading priority for the conservation of our planet’s terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity. We have developed a series of field sites ranging from the highest elevations of cloud forest along the eastern slope of the Andes down into the Amazon lowlands. This sweep of land harbors the greatest known richness of species on the planet and offers millions of plants and animals a refuge from climate change. Unlike flat terrain, the altitudinal relief from the Andes mountains to the Amazon allows plants and animals to readjust their distribution as the world becomes hotter and drier.
Our area of operation in southeastern Peru and northern Bolivia contains 10-15 percent of all the bird and butterfly species known on the planet. Top predators such as harpy eagles, giant otters, black caiman, and jaguars thrive in the region, signaling a healthy ecosystem. The Andean foothills are also the spawning ground for the majority of large migratory fish that feed people throughout the Amazon basin.