Deep in the heart of Western Amazonia, a flooded forest teems with wildlife. Alligator-like caimans hide in long grasses surrounding lagoons; wading birds hunt for fish in shallow waters; howler monkeys shriek and swing from tree branches; and river dolphins leap from the Samiria River. But things were not always so peaceful, and the history of this region is marred with human conflict. Find out how a violent uprising prompted a massive change…

The Jungle of Mirrors

Read story

In the wake of the uprising, Dr. Richard Bodmer, the Peruvian government, and indigenous communities joined forces to protect the Amazon's Pacaya-Samiria Reserve. When a group of journalists misreported that this community-based strategy had failed, Richard used years of data to prove that wildlife populations were flourishing and the forest was thriving once again. In 2006, he partnered with Earthwatch to continue protecting the Reserve. Without the help of Earthwatch volunteers, he wouldn't have understood the implications of what happened next…

Read story

In Pacaya-Samiria, water levels ebb and flow like waves in the sea. But starting in about 2009, something changed. The waves were no longer the same size. A year of drought was followed by a year of intense flooding. The peaks were higher, the troughs lower, and the timing was unpredictable. The greatest environmental challenge humanity has ever faced arrived in force in the Reserve… 

Read story

A three-part series about the complex history and uncertain future of one of the most biodiverse places in the world – and the people who have dedicated their lives to conserving it.


Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Questions or comments about this series? We'd love to hear from you! Please share your feedback by emailing us at To check out our website, please visit