Peru’s Alto Mayo Forest features tremendous biodiversity and provides
vital freshwater resources for northern Peru. To protect these ecosystem
services, the Peruvian government designated it as a protected forest in 1987.
Despite this status, the Alto Mayo remains highly threatened by deforestation
due to slash-and-burn agriculture. This destructive practice destroys the
forest, reducing wildlife habitat, increasing erosion and releasing large
quantities of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.
The Carbon Fund, in collaboration with CI-Peru,
for Environmental Leadership in Business (CELB) and the Conservation
Stewards Program, is implementing forest conservation in the Alto Mayo
Protected Forest through the use of carbon financing.
With the support of Disney,
which donated $3.5 million in up-front funding as part of its overall
commitment to reduce its carbon emissions, CI launched the Alto Mayo Conservation
Initiative. This initiative, designed and validated using best-practice REDD+
standards (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation ‘plus’
conservation, the sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest
carbon stocks), will protect about 200,000 hectares of threatened forest in
northwestern Peru and avoid the release of millions of tons of CO2
over the lifetime of the project.
CI uses conservation
agreements to involve farmers currently living inside the Alto Mayo by
providing incentives to keep the forest standing in exchange for a package of
benefits including assistance with organic farming practices. The sales of
carbon credits from the REDD+ project contributes directly to financial
sustainability of these activities.
So far, 235 families have signed agreements to protect the forest, with
a target of 900 by 2014. CI is working with these families to improve their
agricultural practices to boost crop yields rather than expanding agricultural
land by burning forests. CI is also providing efficient cook stoves and medical
supplies – resources these communities are using to improve their lives. As a
result, incomes go up, human well-being improves and the forest stays intact,
keeping greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere.
The Alto Mayo Conservation Initiative is CI’s first independently verified
REDD+ project and the world’s first REDD+ project in a protected area. Between 2009 and 2012, this program has
reduced carbon emissions by 2,500,000 metric tons – that’s like taking 500,000
cars off the road for an entire year.
to watch a video or read more about this innovative initiative.
The Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) website also has more information on the program, including project documents detailing the design, implementation, validation and verification.