Cordillera Azul National Park REDD+ Project

Project Area and its Threats

The Cordillera Azul National Park is considered a jewel in the Amazon Basin thanks to its unique location at the intersection of the Andes mountain range and the Amazon Basin. The Cordillera Azul landscape supports a rich ecosystem of indigenous biodiversity, high carbon stock forests and a multicultural population of more than 250,000 people organized in 400 communities living in the buffer zone around the Park boundaries. With almost no economy apart from subsistence agriculture, these communities have a poverty rate of over 40%, or about the double of Peru poverty rate. The Cordillera Azul National Park is under constant threat from illegal logging and the encroachment of subsistence agriculture by small and poor farmers who have no alternative means of income generation.


Climate Change Mitigation & Biodiversity Conservation 

The Althelia Climate Fund (ACF) has invested €8.33 million over 6 years to enable the protection of 1.6 million hectares of threatened forest in the Cordillera Azul landscape. This innovative Public-Private Partnership between the Peruvian State through the National Service of Protected Areas-SERNANP, the Centro de Investigación y Manejo de Áreas Naturales–CIMA Cordillera Azul, and the Althelia Climate Fund, the Cordillera Azul National Park REDD+ Project focuses on preserving hectares of pristine montane rainforest within the Cordillera Azul National Park whilst supporting the sustainable land use of its rich buffer zone area of 3.7 million hectares. The Park, which is among one of the largest protected areas in Peru, and bigger than the US state of Connecticut, is home to around 6,000 plant species, more than 80 large and medium-sized mammals, around 180 species of fishes, and over 600 species of birds.  11 of these large mammals are listed on CITES-I, including spectacled bears, giant otters, jaguars, cougar, bush dogs, and giant armadillos; as well as 9 bird species, including the harpy eagle, curassow and several macaws.

The project will protect this unique biodiversity and restore degraded lands with agroforestry systems (cocoa & coffee) in the buffer zone relied upon by small farmers and local communities for their livelihoods. By the end of 2018, the project has avoided 25,240,372 tonnes of CO2 emissions due to its efforts to reduce deforestation.


Ecosystem Resilience and Sustainable Economic Development 

In addition to the biodiversity and climate benefits, this project also provides protection of critical ecosystem services for local communities who rely on the continuing healthy functioning of soil and water for their survival. The Park protects cloud forests and the headwaters of the Huallaga and Ucayali Basin rivers, providing clean water to surrounding local communities and supporting their livelihoods. The good management of the Park avoids soil erosion, maintains river health and provides an abundance of fertile soil in floodplains in the buffer zone, all of which benefit local populations.

Cordillera Azul National Park is home to indigenous populations that have chosen to remain in voluntary isolation and the respect and protection of these populations is central to the Project. Cordillera Azul is their home, and it is recognized as such by the State of Peru. The Cordillera Azul REDD+ Project will ensure that status is maintained and their way of life continues.

ACF’s main partner for the Cordillera Azul REDD+ project is CIMA-Cordillera Azul, a leading Peruvian NGO with nearly 20 years on-the-ground experience in natural protected areas management. In 2018, CIMA was awarded the first 20-year full Administration Contract by the Peruvian Government to manage the Park through a participative process with different stakeholders, including international cooperation agencies, regional governments, local municipalities, farmers associations, and organized communities. CIMA is now responsible for implementing conservation and protection activities inside the Park and its buffer zone, and reaching the long-term financial sustainability of the protected area.

The protection of the Cordillera Azul landscape by CIMA is possible through activities such as enhanced surveillance, biological monitoring, research, institutional strengthening and governance of communities living in the buffer zone, as well as the development of sustainable economic activities to boost their quality of life and generate sustained income. The Project prioritizes the restoration of degraded lands in the buffer zone with sustainable agroforestry systems that combine food crops to enhance food security (i.e. banana, cassava), with sustainable cash crops such as cocoa and coffee to support poverty reduction, in partnership with local farmer cooperatives.

This investment is possible thanks to the ground-breaking partnership betweenCIMA-Cordillera Azul and SERNANP, the Peruvian Ministry of Environment’s National Service for Natural Protected Areas, which is a key supporter of private participation in nature conservation and environmental services.

This project is validated and verified under the  Verified Carbon Standard and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard.

Support the Cordillera Azul National Park REDD+ Project

Althelia Funds