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Alto Mayo REDD+, Peru

Protecting one of the most threatened ecosystems in the tropical Andes through forest management and community livelihood programmes

Project overview

  • Region: Latin America

  • Project type: Forestry and landscapes

  • Standards: CCB, VCS

Located in the Peruvian Amazon, the project aims to conserve the ecologically rich Alto Mayo Protected Forest (AMPF). It has been designated an Alliance for Zero Extinction site because of its critical importance to the survival of Peru’s endemic fauna and flora. The Peruvian government established the AMPF in 1987, but even with this protection, the park faces intense deforestation pressure from illegal logging, the influx of migrants and unsustainable farming practices. The project helps to conserve the AMPF – an area of approximately 450,000 acres - by providing essential funding for forest management and community programmes.  

Sustainable Development Goals

In addition to delivering approximately 515,268 tonnes of emission reductions each year, the project delivers a number of other sustainable development benefits. These include:

  • Zero hunger: The project works to provide land security for the families that inhabit the forest and is establishing new approaches to sustainable farming, primarily in the coffee supply chain. Through conservation agreements, communities receive direct technical assistance aimed at improving ecological health and crop yields
  • Decent work and economic growth: The project is helping to organise and link small-scale shade-grown coffee farmers across the region with organic coffee associations, enabling them to access a price premium for their product. The project has helped to form a cooperative of coffee farmers known as COOPBAM, and in 2016 this cooperative achieved organic and fair trade certification and began exporting coffee to international markets, and is now being featured in Disney Parks and Resorts
  • Peace, justice and strong institutions: The project is helping farmers to realise the economic value of forest protection and modelling a sustainable development pathway for the Government of Peru and civil society stakeholders, who view this project as a leading example of how REDD+ can support the country’s broader conservation and sustainable development goals.

Through conservation agreements communities receive fuel-efficient cookstoves and access to improved social services in exchange for their commitment to sustainably manage the land

Environmental educational programmes in local schools help the area's youth understand the importance of protecting the forest

The area is home to around 4,000 families that directly depend on the forests for their livelihoods, as well as serving as a key source of freshwater for over 240,000 people living in the watershed

Segundo Guevara’s story

Since he was 16, Segundo Guevara has been cultivating coffee plants in Peru. More than a decade ago when Guevara and his family first moved to the Alto Mayo Protected Forest in the San Martín​ region of northern Peru, he was unaware that he was living in a protected area. In search​​ of fertile soil, he burned the forests and cleared the land to plant coffee, cassava, banana and other crops.

Since signing a conservation agreement in 2011, Guevara has received training in sustainable farming methods, including how to grow coffee in the shade, make organic compost, prune coffe​​e trees and treat the fungus that causes coffee leaf rust disease.

“If you use organic compos​​​​t, the land remains just as if you are sowing in rested soil,” he said, adding that his crop production and income have improved since implementing the new farming techniques.

In addition to preventing deforestation, Guevara and his family are contributing to reforestation efforts at a local community plant nursery. “They give us tasks, such as​​ filling up 100 bags with saplings, helping out with construction, cleaning and mixing compost,” said Guevara.

The conservation agreeme​​nts also grant a certain level of security to those who have no legal right to where they have settled. Guevara was unaware that the 1.5 hectares (four acres) he had purchased in 2004 from a local man for the equivalent of US$ 770 did not provide him with an official title to the land. The project has been working with ​​the Peruvian government to allow current residents — including Guevara and his family — to remain on the land as protectors of the forest.

“There is a change in the way of life,” he said. “It’s always good to take care of the forest, so the animals don’t leave and the water doesn’t go away. If not, we would be harming our child​​ren and future generations.”

© CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL/PHOTO BY CARMEN NORIEGA