Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve

Reserva Nacional Allpahuayo Mishana
Paradise for bird watchers


Location: Northern Amazon basin of Peru, Department of Loreto, province Maynas - 16 miles (26.5 Km) south of Iquitos
Area: 57,667.43 hectares.
Creation: January, 2004.


Conserve biodiversity and habitat and sagebrush varillal forests on white sand belonging to the Napo ecoregion and the adjacent floodplain forest of the Nanay River basin.


An island living close to Iquitos

This area protects a unique combination of ecosystems of different origin and age of the lower basin of the Nanay River and home to an exceptional biological wealth, since it is located in the "Napo ecoregion," one of the most biodiverse areas of the Amazon and the world. Although the highlight of Allpahuayo Mishana are the rare and ancient forests of white sand, here you can find recent floodplains forests on the Nanay River (which also has numerous lakes and streams of sewage, with its typical flora and fauna) swamp forests, clay hills and forests of various types, each of which has a typical community of plants and animals.

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Exceptional biological richness

Allpahuayo Mishana is known for its very high levels of biodiversity, several of which are world records: about three hundred species of trees over 10 cm. in diameter per hectare, more than 500 species greater than 2.5 cm. three-quarters of a hectare, and 120 species of reptiles, the largest worldwide registration for a locality, can be found in the Allpahuayo Mishana proposal. In other groups there are exceptional records: 83 species of amphibians, some of them known only from here, 145 species of mammals and 475 species of birds, more than half a dozen of them specialists in the forests of white sand known in Peru only Nanay basin. However, these figures are constantly increasing with the discovery of new species in the area. In areas near the reserve, within the Napo ecoregion are located the world record for a local amphibians (112 species), primates (17 species) and probably of birds (over 600 species).


Additionally, the area has among its more than 1,900 plant species over a hundred species of rare plants, endemic or very restricted distribution, and more than a dozen vertebrates in the same situation, and other rare or endangered, as the rare primates Goeldi's marmoset (Callimico goeldii), Collared Titi (Callicebus torquatus) and Equatorial Saki (Pithecia aequatorialis), the latter two protected for the first time in Peru in the Reserve.


Among the birds, we highlight the recently described Ancient Antwren (Herpsilochmus gentryi), named after the American botanist disappeared was the first to study the white-sand forests of the Nanay and propose conservation measures for them Mishana Tyrannulet (Zimmerius villarejoi), named after P. Villarejo Avencio; Allpahuayo Antbird (Percnostola arenarum) Northern Chestnut-tailed Antbird (Myrmeciza castanea), the Pompadour Cotinga (Xipholena punicea), a bird of exceptional beauty that is known in Peru only from the Reserve, and Saffron-crested Tyrant-Manakin (Neopelma chrysocephalum), in the same situation. Besides these there is here a dozen other specialist birds white-sand forests, some of them unique in the world, and others known only in Peru Allpahuayo Mishana, although there are a few other places in the Amazon.


Biodiversity at risk

Before being protected, the forests of white sand, very restricted distribution in the Peruvian Amazon, were in grave danger of disappearing in the short term because of the pressure on natural resources and the high rate of deforestation, given its proximity to the city of Iquitos. The soils here are very poor and fragile, so that once cleared the forest, just produce a crop and is very difficult to return to recover their fertility, as nutrients are filtered rapidly in the best cases, need hundreds of years to restore the original virgin forest.


Although the formal creation of Allpahuayo Mishana gives legal protection to these unique ecosystems, this does not guarantee real protection, given the huge population pressure in the area, its proximity to Iquitos, and the limited availability of resources in Peru to protect network of parks. It is urgent and indispensable at this time, private sector involvement and international cooperation to establish a minimum level of protection in the reserve, and to promote environmental education and eco-development, so that local people have alternatives sustainable use of natural resources and need not destroy the forest to survive.


Medicinal plant gardens and native fruit

Within the limits of the Reserve Research Institute of the Amazon - IIAP-running research projects: assessment of flora and fauna for exploration and conservation, medicinal plants and native fruit.


The Medicinal Plant Garden was established in 1992 to maintain and preserve a living collection of Amazonian medicinal species under cultivation (ex situ) and in natural forest, which serves to conduct research, develop and transfer technologies of cultivation and use. In this garden are done training, education and tourism, and research papers, theses studies and pre-professional practices of national and foreign students.


He currently holds a total of 10 hectares and has a collection of 247 species of medicinal plants and multiple use of the Peruvian Amazon. These include the collections of both species of Cat's Claw "uña de gato" (Uncaria tomentosa and U. guianensis), Dragon's blood "sangre de grado" (Croton lecheri), "ayahuasca" (Banisteriopsis caapi), "Chiric sanango" (Brumfelsia grandiflora) "chuchuasha" (Maytenus macrocarpa ), "ajo sacha" (Mansoa alliacea), and others.


The Garden is trying to imitate the cropping pattern typical of a peasant family, and is distributed as follows: 1.5 ha. in the open, containing the light-demanding herbaceous and shrub species, 3.5 ha. in secondary forest, which contain the species cultivated in strips longer cycle (trees and lianas), and try to develop models of alternative use of fallow land and degraded in the remaining 5 acres has a comprehensive inventory and are preserved in situ natural forest species. Plants are identified along a trail system with interpretive signs containing the scientific and common names of each species, and their main uses.


Amazon fruits collection

In an area of ​​about five hectares, is installed a collection of 47 species of Amazonian native fruit, belonging to 22 families and 37 genera. It has a database relating to collection, nursery, outplanting final biometric measurements of growth, fruit yield assessment, and others.


Among the most prominent and promising of the collection we can highlight: "caimito" (Pouteria caimito), "uvilla" (Pouroma cecropiifolia), "macambo" (Tehobroma bicolor), "charichuelos" (Garcinia macrophylla), "metohuayo" (Caryodendron orynocense), "granadilla" (Passiflora spp.), "naranjo podrido" (Parahancornia peruviana), and others.


Species are marked with signs which specify the common and scientific names, and family. Additionally, use the trails of primary forest nearby tourist can find dozens of species of wild fruit identified with their respective posters.




Tourist Routes in Mishana Allpahuayo

The entrance is 26.5 Km(16 miles) from Iquitos on the Iquitos - Nauta highway (30 minutes by car). Leaving from the Bellavista Nanay port, by boat takes 2 to 3 hours depending on the size of the engine.

  • One of the circuits to make is between 25 and 26 km from Iquitos - Nauta highway, on private premises where you can visit a typical humid forest varillal low. There one can see numerous species of birds endemic to these ecosystems.
  • In the area of ​​the Nanay River you can see the black water floodplain forests.
  • Within the national reserve, at Km 23, is a breeding farm where you can appreciate the sustainable management of wild animals like the capybara and peccary.
  • There is a tour of bird watching in a forest near the highway varillal (km 25).
  • At Km 26 is Allpahuayo Research Center (IRC) at the Institute of Amazonian Research (IIAP), where you can see native medicinal plants and fruit in a tourist circuit with interpretive trails between high and dry sand forest low humidity.
  • In Ninarumi community on the outskirts of the city of Iquitos, there is a pier that connects the communities of the Nanay River basin.
  • At Km 28 is the checkpoint The irapay, where a trail starts to the community of Mishana. On the road you can see many linkages.


Species of new birds for the science discovered and described in the reserved area

Many of these species are white-sand specialists and are therefore exceedingly rare, due to the scarcity of white-sand forests in Peru. For example, 21 bird species have been found to be associated with white-sand forests in this area, and for several of them, these forests near Iquitos are their only known distribution in Peru.


At least six new species of birds have been discovered within the last five years in AIlpahuayo-Mishana, four of them have been already described. AIlpahuayo-Mishana is also the only place where the habitat of two species of primates has been officially protected in Peru (Callicebus torquatus and Pithecia aequatorialis).


However, biologists have only studied a small part of the flora and fauna of Allpahuayo - Mishana. This reserve harbors the only white-sand forests that enjoy legal protection in Peru and protects the largest concentration known of this type of forest in the country.

* Biologist José Álvarez Alonso IIAP

  • Herpsilochmus gentryi (Ancient Antwren)
  • Zimmerius villarejoi (Mishana Tyrannulet)
  • Percnostola arenarum (Allpahuayo Antbird)
  • Myrmeciza castanea centuculorum (Zimmer's Antbird)


Species of new birds for Peru or very rares discover in the reserved area

  • Crypturellus duidae (Gray-Iegged Tinamou)
  • Nyctibius leucopterus (White-winged Potoo)
  • Nyctibius bracteatus (Rufous Potoo)
  • Nyctiprogne leucopyga (Band-tailed Nighthawk)
  • Notharcus ordii (Brown-banded Puffbird)
  • Hemitriccus minimus (Zimmer's Tody-tyrant)
  • Platyrinchus saturatus (Cinnamon-crested Spadebill)
  • Conopias parva (Yellow-throated Flycatcher)
  • Neopelma chrysocephalum (Saffron-crested Tyrant-manakin)
  • Xipholena punicea (Pompadour Cotinga)
  • Neopipo cinnamomea (Cinnamon Tyrant-manakin)


Suggested program to visit Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve, 3 days / 2 nights. 2 nights in Iquitos City and 2 full days in the reserved zone. Ask for tailor made programs



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