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On Sunday, Peru’s president, Ollanta Humala, approved the creation of a 3.3-million-acre national park to protect a vast territory in the Amazon basin.
The Sierra del Divisor National Park is larger than Yosemite and Yellowstone combined, and protects an area that is vulnerable to drug trafficking and illegal logging and mining.
According to the Peruvian government, the park will be home to around 3,000 species of unique plants and animals.
The foliage in the park will also store 1 billion tons of carbon—the equivalent of the average annual emissions of all vehicles in the U.S—and provide protection for indigenous communities living within the park in voluntary isolation.
The U.S. nonprofit conservation organization Rainforest Trust worked with Peru‘s CEDIA (Center for the Development of an Indigenous Amazon)—along with the indigenous communities and Peruvian government—to create the park.
Rainforest Trust’s CEO, Dr. Paul Salaman, said the park is the “final link in an immense protected area complex that extends for more than 1,100 miles from the banks of the Amazon in Brazil to the snowy peaks of the Peruvian Andes.”
The park is part of the Andes-Amazon Conservation Corridor, which comprises 30 million acres of rainforest protected through efforts by the Rainforest Trust and CEDIA.
“This permanent conservation corridor is one of the greatest refuges for biodiversity on Earth,” Salaman said.
The park’s creation is timed perfectly: In three weeks, the UN will hold a summit focused on sealing a global climate change pact.