Perfect Guano Environment
1. Seclude land
2. Add water
3. Wait for birds ( finished product will be white)
Punta San Juan is the optimal location for Peru’s marine animals. Just south of Lima, this peninsula provides an ideal habitat for the wildlife of the Humboldt current. The beaches are full of fur seals, sea lions, and Humboldt Penguins, but the most characteristic aspect of this environment at Punta San Juan is the guano ( bird poop). This is also the most controversial aspect on the peninsula. The guano is the connection between ecology and economy. For over a hundred years guano has been a resource for extraction. Traditionally guano has been used as fertilizer and this practice has continued on today. The process of extraction invades the habitats of the birds and the relationship between the ecology and economy of this peninsula is very parasitic. The guano birds provide the harvesters the resource, but the birds are disrupted and often are forced to move towards the during the harvesting process.
The issue has started to be reconciled through a third party. The harvesters are not biologist, ecologists or environmentalists, but are by no means unwilling to help the ecology of the peninsula. Projecto Punta San Juan is this third party. They mediate between the wildlife and the harvesters. The project has set up guidelines for how to extract with minimal habitat destruction by doing so in non breeding months and with the use of barriers between the workers and the birds. For the most part the workers are compliant and are naturally or culturally environmentalists. Even without the project’s guidance, they are resourceful and use wastes to their benefit. They make their roads from the feathers collected from the guano and reuse their guano bags and sew them together to make tarps. I think that often these industrial groups are seen as just another piece of the economy where they want to make their money and they don’t care how they do it. In reality these people are very conscious of their environment and they understand the importance of the ecology they are working with. This system at Punta San Juan should exemplify the way ecology and economy should work together. I think there I much to learn here and this type of relationship should extend to the states. There should always be mutualism or at least commensalism between the two parties and Projecto Punta San Juan exemplifies that this is a very possible ideal.