In the Andean Amazon of Peru, the Alto Mayo REDD+ Project protects 182,000 hectares of high-elevation rainforest and cloud forest. The Project’s Community Patrol initiative was conceived as part of their strategy to build an alliance between local communities and Peru’s Natural Protected Areas Service (SERNANP). They do this by including community members as an integral part of patrolling activities that take place in the project’s buffer zone. The main objective is to deter migration into the Alto Mayo Protected Forest (AMPF) project area. Community Patrol Committee members are able to share their first hand testimony with migrants about their own experiences and help new migrants understand why it is not feasible to enter the AMPF.
Located in the Peruvian Andean Amazon, the Alto Mayo REDD+ project conserves the 182,000 hectare, ecologically rich Alto Mayo Protected Forest (AMPF), which has been designated an Alliance for Zero Extinction site due to its critical importance to the survival of Peru’s endemic fauna and flora.
The project team is planning for an upcoming validation and verification of credits through regular technical meetings with the government and plans for the official integration of Afforestation, Reforestation, and Revegetation (ARR) activities. A new Master Plan was approved, highlighting the activities to be undertaken in the Alto Mayo Protected Forest between 2023 and 2027. Recent political uncertainty has shaken Peru’s economy, with negative impacts radiating to communities in the project area.
Despite its protected status, the threat of deforestation from illegal logging and agricultural encroachment in the Alto Mayo Protected Forest (AMPF) remains. To deter the destruction of the forest and to provide local farmers and families with economic alternatives to deforestation, the project has established voluntary conservation agreements in partnership with communities living in and around the project zone.
The Alto Mayo Protected Forest REDD+ project has conducted a prestigious Q-Grader certification course at the coffee laboratory, training cuppers from around the world. The project activities are expanding into Afforestation and Reforestation (ARR) activities, with field data collection underway ahead of verification and validation. A new women’s association has been established, with >200 women participating from 15 communities.
COVID has profoundly impacted the project, introducing challenges due to increased migration into the AMPF and buffer zones, while at the same time providing new opportunities for the implementation of diverse sustainable natural resource- based ventures. Political obstacles have delayed a planned expansion of the project area and the next round of verification.
COOPBAM is a certified fair trade and organic coffee cooperative with more than 500 members who have made a commitment to sustainably use natural resources within the Alto Mayo Protected Forest, as well as a commitment to net zero deforestation. Members of COOPBAM operate in the northern part of the project area, which provides vital fresh water to downstream communities and is home to many threatened and endemic plant and animal species.
In the middle of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Peruvian people struggled to survive as their economy and health services literally collapsed. In spite of this, the Alto Mayo project team continued supporting its community, including: the COOPBAM cooperative, subscribers of the conservation agreements, surveillance committees and any individuals who reached out for help during this difficult time. In the midst of economic unrest, the project’s initiatives have flourished.
Resilience and adaptive management in the face of COVID: The project’s key stakeholders – conservation agreement signatories, the protected area coffee cooperative, rangers, and technicians – continue to be supported by the project, and have found a way to maintain the implementation of crucial field activities.
Strengthening the foundations for durable conservation: Deepening partnerships with the community and Peruvian Government during the ongoing COVID pandemic.