The Mamoní Valley Preserve

At the narrowest point in the Western Hemisphere, where a mere 50 kilometers separate the great oceans of the Pacific and the Atlantic, is a corridor of primary forest and river valleys rich in biological diversity. For hundreds of species of migratory birds, it is the verdant trail between the Americas. To the indigenous Guna, it is the divine Madre Tierra of their semi-autonomous territory. At the very center of this bridge of life along the continental divide in the Province of Panama, lies the valley of the upper Río Mamoní.

Photo Tour

The Mamoní Valley Preserve is located within the largest remaining stretch of contiguous rainforest in the exceptionally bio-diverse Chocó-Darién-Manabí eco-region, one of the top 20 ecological hotspots on Earth. Extending along the Continental Divide, only two hours east of Panama City, the Preserve protects the eastern border of the Chagres National Park, and buffers the southwest border of Guna Yala, the semi-autonomous territory of the Gunas. The Preserve is a model of conservation and biocultural renewal within the 11,000-hectare upper watershed of the Rio Mamomí, one of the three largest rivers in the capital province of Panama.

Map of Panama with the Mamoní Valley


Our decision to locate Earth Train's permanent international center in Panama was, in part, in response to an emergency. Guillermo Archibald, a respected Guna environmental leader, and two young men from Guna Yala who participated in one of Earth Train's leadership training programs in Puerto Rico, urged us to visit Panama and to consider locating our rural facilities near Guna Yala. A team of Earth Train staff and Guna leaders picked the watershed of the upper Rio Mamoní, one of the three largest rivers in the capital province of Panama.

The valley of the upper Mamoní, only two hours from Panama City, was where their protected primary forest and river valleys were in greatest danger of invasion. Absentee ranchers were pushing their hired hands to clear more forest for pasture; groups specializing in illegal logging were offering tantalizing "cash down plus a piece of the action" deals to the owners of forested land. Small farmers in the area found a temporary gold mine in the production of culantro, a broad-leafed variety of cilantro that is popular in Panama. In growing numbers, they were clearing and burning forested land on steep inclines to scratch out the ideal, though short-lived, growing conditions for this phosphorous-loving plant.

See also Centro Mamoní

News in the Mamoní Valley

Official Release: The Mamoni Valley Preserve Video

GRIT Graduation

Corazones Contentos Meet the GRIT-lings

Happy Children's Day!

The Days Are Just Packed - EELs Out of Water Meet Corazones Contentos

Into the Woods!

Earth Train launches "Corazones Contentos" Program in the Mamoní Valley

ISP Service Learning at the Mamoní Valley Preserve

Ananda School Visit

MET Students Savor Nature at Centro Mamoní

Crossroads 2015 - Building on Success for Biocultural Leadership

Earth Train in La Zahina to Help Facilitate a Town Meeting

Rainforest Capital in Panama for Strategy Talks with Earth Train in the Mamoní Valley Preserve

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