The forests of the Peruvian Amazon have some of the highest concentrations of biological diversity on Earth. They are home to indigenous peoples, including some who have never been contacted by outsiders. And they are also being cleared at an accelerating rate.
This disturbing trend could soon change through a very promising new agreement. This agreement is not a “silver bullet” that will solve the challenge of Peruvian Amazon deforestation overnight. It is an agreement to slow and eventually end deforestation while growing more food and other products.
During the 7th Expoamazonica held in the San Martín Region (August 11-13, 2017) the “Public-Private Coalition for Low-Emission Rural Development” was announced for the Peruvian Amazon. This initiative, launched by the regional governments of the Amazon, calls on the private sector and civil society organizations to collaborate with these governments to slow deforestation while increasing agricultural production.
The Coalition has three main goals. First, it will secure the land and natural resource rights of rural communities. Second, it will optimize the sustainable use of forest landscapes with approaches that are tailored to the Amazon lowland forest and the Andean montane forests. Finally, it will establish the enabling conditions and generate the transformational changes needed for low-emission rural development, including technological, financial and business model innovations.
The Coalition was launched with the formal endorsement of more than 45 entities, including public institutions, companies, producers’ associations and civil society organizations. These organizations are linked to the agricultural and forestry sectors and committed to increase productivity while reducing pressure on forests. Higher farm productivity on lands that have already been cleared is a high priority, since the main cause of deforestation is conversion to extensive agriculture and livestock that is characterized by low yields and declining soil fertility. Peruvian Amazon farmers are locked into a cycle of forest clearing, soil depletion, and further forest clearing. This perverse cycle must be reversed.
The Coalition is an important opportunity for the Amazonian regional territories of Peru to become “sustainable jurisdictions” that are capable of delivering products that are free of deforestation to the growing number of markets that demand it. If successful, it will generate wealth and well-being for the inhabitants of the Peruvian Amazon while reducing GHG emissions and ensuring that forests will continue to provide a range of ecosystem services to society. It is about positioning the Peruvian Amazon to participate more actively in the green economy, attracting investments in sustainable enterprise and selling sustainably-produced products.
Now the real work begins!
For more information about Production Protection approach in Peru, see: