CI-Peru and partner organizations are committed to strengthening conservation of vital ecosystem services and mitigating the negative environmental and social impacts that arise from infrastructure development for the benefit of biodiversity and people in the Vilcabamba-Amboró Conservation Corridor.
The Vilcabamba-Amboró Conservation Corridor is a 16,716,560 hectare land-use mosaic that includes intact forests and diverse protected areas in the regions of Madre de Dios, Puno and Cusco, Peru.
It is one of the world's richest areas in animal and plant species – its wide altitudinal range, from the highest peaks of 4,300 meters to the lower river basins at 400-500 meters above sea level, provide the perfect scenario for evolution of high numbers of species such as tapirs, jaguars, white-lipped peccaries, giant otters and river turtles.
The Corridor is also home to many indigenous cultures including the Asháninka, Matsigenka (or Matsiguenga), Nomatsiguenga, and Yine, and provides critical ecosystem services such as the regulation of climate for the Southern Amazon watershed, carbon, and the protection of the Amazon headwaters, which maintain a clean supply of freshwater for the communities and populations living in the Amazon lowlands.
Conservation International (CI) is working throughout the Vilcabamba-Amboró Conservation Corridor to consolidate protected areas by promoting the development of sustainable finance mechanisms, including Payment for Ecosystems Services (PES) schemes and REDD+ initiatives. As part of this effort, CI is providing technical advice to the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund and the Fondo de las Americas that impacts allocation of financial resources to develop PES projects in the buffer zones of key protected natural areas such as the Alto Purus National Park.
REDD+: Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation "plus" conservation, the sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.
In addition, CI is part of a consortium of international and local organizations established to develop the deforestation baseline of Madre de Dios, a coordinated effort with the ultimate goal of building the capacity of the Madre de Dios Regional Government to obtain financial resources from carbon emission offsets and distribute these resources equitably to local communities.
CI is also addressing a major threat to this region, namely the development of infrastructure projects that form part of the Initiative for the Integration of Regional Infrastructure, or IIRSA, as it is known by its Spanish acronym. IIRSA is an effort of the governments of South America to build a continental infrastructure network and includes the construction of the Southern Inter-Oceanic Highway, which will connect Brazil to the Peruvian coast. This construction poses a serious threat to biodiversity, ecosystem services and human populations in Madre de Dios and is already exacerbating preexisting problems such as illegal gold mining. Deforestation has increased around the construction site and people have begun to migrate from the neighboring Andean region, which has led to additional deforestation for agriculture and other unsustainable activities.
CI is fostering stakeholder collaboration, monitoring the infrastructure project's impacts, following its conservation actions, as well as implementing activities with civil society groups to counteract the negative consequences of the highway. We are building strong regional alliances for the promotion of sustainable use of natural resources, preservation of local cultures, and conservation of the environment and biodiversity. CI also supports regional-level polices such as a fire prevention and control system in the Madre de Dios region.
Finally, CI sponsored an assessment of small-scale and artisanal gold mining activities in Madre de Dios, which is being used by the Ministry of Environment to design and implement mitigation policies in the area.