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Palo Blanco’s Dry Forest
They got the area – they are waiting for somebody to explain their sightings now.

By Nelson Peñaherrera | FACTORTIERRA.NET. Photos by Regional Government of Piura.  Cámbialo a español.

CHULUCANAS, Peru – White cacao cropped in Palo Blanco travels as far as the United states, France, Switzerland and Belgium, according to Sierra Exportadora, a Peruvian government agency that advises farmers with atractive products for international markets.

Although La Quemazón (pronounce “La KehmaZon”) , in San Juan de Bigote District (Piura) is considered as the best place in the world where white cacao is, the story of how Palo Blanco organized to satisfy this market has been so modeling until Lima-based RPP network granted it 2012 Integration Award.

According to Sierra Exportadora, this cacao variety is better qualified but much rare in the whole planet: from global stock, it just means 0.25%. What could consumer public in the States or europe think if we say just beside the planntations, a Private Area of Conservation (APC as in Spanish) has been approved looking to preserve 2 sq km of dry forest?

Regional Government of Piura (GOREPI as in Spanish) announced on Friday April 29
th that Ministry of environment had approved APC creation to assure Seco (pronounce “Sehco”) and Yapatera Rivers flow, those run at the North of Chulucanas (pronounce “ChuluKanas”) City, mostly known because its mud pottery, its Andean-African-Hispanic-Tallan cultural mixture, and its agriexporting potential.

According to the paperwork presented to get the area creation, Zanjón Hondo (pronounce “ZanHon Ondo”) Creek is one of Yapatera River’s tributaries, which is Piura River’s tributary at the same time, one of the two most important in Piura Coast. There are other smaller creeks inside Palo Blanco’s dry forest those fight the thirst of 74 vegetal species, 61 birds species, 16 mammals species, and 12 anphibes and reptiles species.

La Aleja Creek’s source helps to formation of diverse spruers inside the area, from where water is provided for irrigating agricultural crops and capture in a pipes network to supply people,” It points out.

The interest in keeping this forest is because it is an unique ecosystem of our country, region of Tumbes endemism,” the document what FACTORTIERRA.NET knew sustains. Although in a review of listed and threatened species, we have found many common in the Americas like scavenger and rapacious birds.

Palo Blanco’s dry forest is managed by César Vallejo (pronounce “Cehsar Vajeho”) Farmers’ Community, that has been successful keeping it untouchable for a long time, as GOREPI says. “Years ago, it was under irrational cutting off,” Community’s president Victor Chamba remembers. We, the new generations, have understood the need to protect environment.”

The forest is located about 20 km at east of Chulucanas City, and its biodiversity could be conditionated by its altitude range from 300 to 900 meters above sea level, that means passing from Coast to Andes in a reduced land extension.

Touristic chances
The ‘could’ stresses because GOREPI warns there is not any research supporting the riches it presents.

That is why they will look for teasing university students to make esential investigation, but considering endemic and threatened species list in particular, specialists presence will be required to lead and to reach into more consistent conclusions for rating the space’s real value and its interaction to activities those make the town internationally remarkable.

So it will be possible to improve touristic offer NorAndino Cooperative is already doing around white cacao, which visitors go to fieldss and participate caring and cropping the product.

Another aspect this level is allowing major studies on The Answering Rock, Two-Eyed Rock, The Marked Rock. Mr Chamba says they are cutted, suspects a very ancient origin.

In FACTORTIERRA.NET experience in Malingas Community
, Tambogrande District, about 25 km at Northwest, it could be about archaeological evidence, considering Palo Blanco is next to Chililique, Frías District, where petroglyphs with quite similar patterns to Malingas’ were found.

If Archaeologist Daniel Davila’s theory of jíbaro migration corridors is right
, it could be about human work made prior to birth of Peruvian Great Cultures.

In Chililique as well as Malingas, archaeological sites seem to be linked to water presence. In Palo Blanco case, it could –again- be the same considering La Pirca and La Toma Creeks. Let’s remember we are talking about 2 sq km, about 200 soccer fields, so proving or debunking the connection does not imply going on long distances like in Malingas.

Mr Chamba confirms the exploration can be done by walking due to short distances.

Nevertheless, what could be started in APC is scientific tourism, because it will give consistency to any reason-why that farmers’ community or GOREPI wants to offer later. So this could become a hypotheses into a conclusion – preliminary, at least.

The upcoming assignment is determining the importance of endemisms and the need to save the different threatened species in the forest, in particular inside 40 untouchable hectares (the fifth part of APC).

I guess hualtaco and palo blanco are the most vulnerables,” Mr Chamba estimates.

Coming up next, FACTORTIERRA.NET presentsthat list of endemisms and threatened species, based on GOREPI stock, hoping to contribute the curiosity of senior & junior scientific community. The only you must get is an authorization by farmers’ community.

DISCLAIMER: On this english version, we only include scientific names, not common names’ translations in order to keep accuracy.

Flora: 74 types of plants. Among endemic and threatened, we have:
According to GOREPI stock, the most fauna is endemic of Tumbes (pronounce “ToomBess”).

Birds: “61 species were listed,” authorities assure, adding 18 are endemic of Tumbes.

Mammals: “There are 16 identified species,” GOREPI states. The most are endemic of equatorial Pacific. We also found six different species of chyroptera. The next are endemic and threatened ones.

Anphibes and reptiles: 12 species were found. We noted 2 frogs species, 2 jañapes (pronounce “hañapa”) species, and 4 lizards species.

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