Born in Belém, Brazil, Peres was exposed to Amazonian natural history from age seven and his father's 5,000-ha landholding in eastern Pará, consisting largely of undisturbed primary forest, became a childhood playground. For the last 30 years he has been studying wildlife community ecology in Amazonian forests, the population ecology of key tropical forest resource populations, and the biological criteria for designing large nature reserves.
He currently co-directs four ecology and conservation research programs in neotropical forests, including the ecology of key timber and non-timber forest resources; patterns of vertebrate assemblage structure in Amazonian forests; the biological dynamics of hyper-disturbed and fragmented forest landscapes, and the biodiversity consequences of land-use change. He has published ~300 papers on neotropical forest ecology and conservation at scales ranging from populations to landscapes, and to entire continents.
In 1995, he received a "Biodiversity Conservation Leadership Award" from the Bay and Paul Foundation (USA), and in 2000 was elected an "Environmentalist Leader for the New Millennium" by Time Magazine and CNN network. He is currently a Professor in tropical conservation ecology and divides his time between Norwich and fieldwork at multiple field sites in neotropical forests.