The Mamoní Valley Preserve (MVP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting biocultural leadership and engaging in large-scale land conservation and habitat restoration within the 11,500ha Upper Mamoní Valley Watershed and beyond.
About the Valley
The Mamoní Valley is located within the largest remaining stretch of contiguous rainforest in the exceptionally biodiverse Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena eco-region – one of the top 20 ecological hotspots on Earth. The Mamoní Valley is a corridor of dense mature rainforests and fertile river valleys rich in biological diversity. It is the headwaters of one of Panamá Province’s most storied rivers. Only two hours east of Panama City, the Valley’s long northern border is the Cordillera de San Blas, part of Panama’s Continental Divide.
The Preserve acts as a buffer zone, protecting the eastern border of the Chagres National Park. It buffers the southwest border of Guna Yala Comarca, the semi-autonomous territory of the Gunas. The western edge of the Valley is surrounded by the cloud forests of Cerro Brewster and Cerro Jefe – zones of high endemism and remarkable lush mist-enshrouded mountaintops.
The southern boundary consists of a long ridge that separates the Upper Mamoní from the Corpus Christi watershed, and is typified by dense forests and views of both oceans – making a hike along this ridge particularly memorable.
The Upper Rio Mamoní is a wide open river in a broad valley with flood plains and undulating hills surrounding the Mamoní itself, which after descending from its sources along the Continental Divide, flows west to east until reaching the southwest corner of the Valley, where it turns abruptly South and heads to the Pacific. The Valley generally follows the river from the west to the east, with many mountain tributaries cascading through steep forested terrain into the Rio Mamoní.
In the 1960’s and 70’s Panama’s economy began to expand eastward towards the Darién, which resulted in massive clearing of lands. This eastward migration was further supported by government policies to help fund the expansion of cattle and the agricultural frontier. New settlers established the 11,500-hectare Mamoní Valley as a major cattle production zone. The Valley reached its peak extent of deforestation and area in pasture (around 30%) around the year 2000.
Enter Earth Train and the Rainforest Capital team with their efforts to prevent the then current regional demographic and land use trends towards extensive cattle ranching and urbanization from further devastating the Mamoní Valley’s thriving forests and rich biodiversity.
The intent of the Mamoní Valley Preserve (MVP) is to protect the land and inhabitants of the Valley and also to function as a buffer zone protecting 12 miles of the southern border of the Guna Yala indigenous territory and the eastern edge of the upper reaches of Chagres National Park from the rapid and often chaotic development along the Panamerican Highway corridor.
After a dozen years working in the Valley to promote biocultural diversity, Earth Train and Rainforest Capital Management created the Mamoní Valley Preserve in 2014 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to serving the above mission.
The MVP serves as an umbrella organization to coordinate all efforts throughout the entire valley that promote the above mission. Within this non-profit organization is the Mamoní Valley Preserve Association open to all landowners and stakeholders in the Mamoní Valley watershed who voluntarily pledge to support the mission and work together to create a thriving socially and environmentally positive community.
Measures of Success
Our success over the years will be demonstrated by:
- the amount of land that is forested within the watershed.
- inventories of animals and birds commonly found within the valley.
- the employment level and average earnings among valley residents.
- the amount of funds that are applied to generating and maintaining cultural biodiversity.
- the number of landowners participating in the MVP Association.
- the percent of the valley area represented by the MVP Association.
- the number of valley residents and visitors from around the world participating in training activities in the valley.
- the number of visitors from around the world participating in eco-tourism activities in the valley
Apprenticeships commit to work for a longer period of time to get practical experience and learn a specific job or skill while interns are students, graduates and young professionals who work with our learning directors to gain supervised, practical professional experience.
Volunteers are similar to that of the internship and apprenticeship. Volunteers are independently driven voluntourists joining us to help move the organization forward. There is no one specific field they will be focused on as they are expected to help our team of staff and interns with any project that, at that specific time, needs attention for us to accomplish our mission of conserving the Mamoni Valley.