Conservation International Statement on News Story About Alto Mayo Project
January 18, 2023
ARLINGTON, Va. (Jan. 18, 2023) – Conservation International released the following statement about two articles published in The Guardian today about the Alto Mayo forest-carbon project:
A story published in The Guardian today about a Conservation International project in the Alto Mayo Protected Forest (AMPF) in Peru alleges that structures in the project area were improperly destroyed by government authorities. An accompanying article, based on The Guardian’s own analysis, also claims that the project and others like it have overstated their climate impacts.
The first claim is based on incomplete information.
Conservation International has been in close contact with Peru’s protected area agency, who have assured that: (1) any structures shown being dismantled by government authorities were vacant and (2) the community was informed well ahead of time that the buildings were to come down. Furthermore, community carbon credit revenues did not fund this activity.
That said, human rights are core to Conservation International’s mission, and we require all partners to adhere to our values and standards. We will be taking the additional due diligence step of hiring an outside expert to conduct an independent review of these videos and the circumstances surrounding them, and we will make the results public.
The second claim is inaccurate.
The Guardian’s interpretation of the science used to judge the project’s climate impacts is wholly flawed, with too many errors to list here (this article from Verra details many of them). A team of Conservation International scientists carefully evaluated The Guardian’s analysis and found that, despite the use of some rigorous methods, it makes many of the same errors as a similar "analysis” commissioned by The Guardian with Greenpeace in 2021. Like its predecessor, the new analysis uses data and methods that are fundamentally unsuited to the purpose for which they are employed.
The project itself is a product of the most rigorous and transparent methods and science available. We stand by that science, and we stand by this project.
This initiative is one of the world’s first forest-carbon projects, helping establish a price on carbon and creating a way for funding to flow into communities that need it to keep forests standing, which is necessary for stopping climate change. Further, the project has been critical in advancing the science and standards behind high-quality forest carbon projects and the benefits they provide to some of the world’s most vulnerable communities. We are deeply grateful to the partners who helped make this transformative project a reality for the communities of Alto Mayo. We stand by our science, our field teams, and the community that this project benefits.
About Conservation International: Conservation International protects nature for the benefit of humanity. Through science, policy, fieldwork and finance, we spotlight and secure the most important places in nature for the climate, for biodiversity and for people. With offices in 30 countries and projects in more than 100 countries, Conservation International partners with governments, companies, civil society, Indigenous peoples and local communities to help people and nature thrive together. Go to Conservation.org for more, and follow our work on Conservation News, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram and YouTube.