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  • Wyss Academy

Activities in the Hub South America - An Overview (2020)

Location/region: Madre de Dios is a department in Peru (85,300 km2).

Inhabitants: Approximately 141,070

Biodiversity: As part of the global biodiversity hotspot in the tropical Andes, Madre de Dios has large areas of intact forest. These have one of the world’s highest levels of biodiversity and are home to unique species. With up to 300 species of trees on a single hectare of land, the forest stores globally significant amounts of carbon dioxide

Establishment of the South America Hub

The Hub grew out of an analysis of different partners and possible models that would give the Wyss Academy a legal footing in the region, in order to allow it to operate there (e.g. employing staff, implementing activities, signing partnership contracts with Peruvian organizations). The following provides an overview of Hub activities within the various areas forming part of the Wyss Academy approach.


  • Establishing comprehensive contacts with potential partners for future knowledge, engagement and incubator activities, with a focus on protecting biodiversity in and around protected areas, creating sustainable value chains for crops from the Amazonian rainforest

  • Multi-stakeholder workshops for the development and testing of an integrated and participatory monitoring tool for Tambopata buffer zone


  • Identification of institutional actors at national level (Peru) (national and local government, international organizations and NGOs, universities, associations, civil society organizations, the private sector, etc.) in the fields of research, conservation, the protection of biodiversity and development with which the Wyss Academy can enter into partnerships

  • Biological monitoring with camera traps: Data collected in ACCA’s private conservation area from June 2019 to June 2020 has given an insight into changes in wildlife as a result of improvements in the management of the conservation area (compared to data from 2005)

  • Studies on Brazil nuts, including with institutional partners: systematic processing of existing knowledge and literature (by the Institute of Plant Science, IPS), integrated study on the future impacts of climate change on Brazil nut production (with OCCR and CDE); mapping and analysis of the stakeholders that play a role in the Brazil nut value chain; surveying transformative initiatives and research projects that the Wyss Academy can build on with its engagement and knowledge diplomacy

  • Study on the governance framework and policy coherence of conservation and sustainable development in Madre de Dios


  • Tambopata buffer zone: Testing and adapting the monitoring system for the Tambopata buffer zone management plan. Establishing a monitoring system that includes participative and scientific methods. Initial assessment of the effectiveness and the potential for scaling up the revised monitoring system

  • Brazil nuts: Specific co-design workshop involving Brazil nut stakeholders on the basis of synthesis studies and a survey of stakeholders to identify and design incubators for improving the Brazil nut value chain. This was postponed until 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.


Strict restrictions, including lockdown and restricted travel within Peru, resulted in some field-based research and engagement activities being postponed until 2021.

During the pilot phase, scientists of local partner organizations met with researchers from the University of Bern.

Gold mining is an important industry in Madre de Dios, but it has a negative impact on the people who live there and on the environment.

Pumas are one of many species that can be found in the Tambopata National Reserve. Their habitat extends as far as Bolivia.

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