The Althelia Climate Fund has participated in a EUR 9.15 million investment programme in Madre de Dios, Peru, to finance the long-term conservation of 570,000 hectares of natural forest. The project covers the National Reserve of Tambopata and the National Park of Bahuaja-Sonene, both biodiversity hotspots, as well as 4000 hectares of degraded land in a buffer zone around the parks. This investment enables the restoration of the buffer zone through agroforestry systems aiming to produce fine aromatic ‘deforestation-free’ cocoa and improving the livelihoods of the farming communities.
Tambopata National Reserve and Bahuaja-Sonene National Park are among the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world, and provide essential ecosystem services, such as water and carbon sequestration. These areas are currently under threat of conversion and degradation from unsustainable land use practices such as slash-and-burn agriculture, inefficient pastoral systems and illegal mining. Althelia’s investment will help ensure a transition towards sustainable land use in both protected areas’ zones of influence, and thus furthering the long-term conservation of these two important areas.
Our investment will provide necessary financial resources to improve the agricultural practices of over 1,100 small farmers and their families living in the buffer zone around the protected areas, as well as financing biological monitoring, scientific research and surveillance within the protected areas themselves. The agroforestry improvements include the development of 4,000 hectares of fine and aromatic cocoa trees alongside the establishment of smallholder cooperatives that will enable more optimal management of harvesting, processing and commercialisation of the cocoa. At full scale, the investment will produce at least 3,200 tonnes of certified deforestation-free organic and Fairtrade cocoa every year, ensuring the long-term financial and environmental sustainability of the area, its ecosystems and its population. In addition this project will result in avoiding the emission of 4 million tonnes of carbon over the seven year investment period validated under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Carbon, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standards at the Gold level..
The Althelia Climate Fund has invested US$7million into this programme, alongside the Peru-U.S. debt swap fund ‘Fondo de las Americas’ (FONDAM), who contributed US$2million of co-financing as well as offering its expertise in cocoa-based agroforestry projects.
This investment is possible thanks to the ground-breaking partnership between Asociacion para la Investigacion y el Desarrollo Integral (AIDER) 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.
AIDER is a leading Peruvian NGO with over 27 years of expertise in implementing and managing community-based sustainable development projects.
Photo credits: Aldo Ramírez and Frans Lanting