Strengthening the capacity of forest dwellers to sustainably manage their ancient home.

In the Peruvian Amazon, 652km drive East of Lima, lies Atalaya; aptly translating to ‘watchtower’ in Spanish, the town stands sentinel over an important Peruvian forestry region covering 3.98million hectares. This corner of Peru’s wider Amazonian Forest (an area totalling 73million hectares and 61% of the entire country) is also home to the Ashaninka, Yine and Asheninca indigenous peoples.

While Peru has made great developmental strides, significant growth, low inflation, macroeconomic stability and poverty reduction, some people have been left behind. Amazonian indigenous peoples suffer high levels of malnutrition, limited access to education and healthcare, and disproportionate maternal/infant mortality levels. Many are living in extreme poverty.

Poverty isn’t the only foe…

120,000ha of forest has been lost annually (between 2001 and 2014). 45% of this deforestation has taken place on lands with no legal status. Increasing pressure on forest-related resources has resulted in social conflict, as forest dwellers see their primary source of income encroached on by competing forces – agriculture is the primary cause of deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon. The exploitation of gold, oil and gas also add dramatically to the degradation of Amazonian ecosystems.

And yet…

The forest offers opportunities for poverty reduction through economic diversification, alongside building climate change resilience… 

How the Climate Investment Funds are helping

Authorised in 2018, the $12.2M Integrated Forest Landscape Management Project aims to strengthen the capacity of forest dependent communities to sustainably manage forest landscapes. The project is tied to the Climate Investment Funds (CIF)’ Forest Investment Program (FIP) and is expected to generate huge transformation; significantly reducing emissions produced by deforestation and degradation while carbon reserves in sustainable forest landscapes are enhanced.

The workstreams include:

  • The securing of land tenure rights and the formal registering of land titles to native communities and recognition of those communities as legal entities. This will promote community level land-use planning, protect against illegal land usage, and encourage sustainable forest management practice. Investments aimed at building the sustainability skills of forest stakeholders also falls into this area.
  • Providing community grants that contribute to sustainable forest management, food security, and income generation through areas such as agroforestry and silviculture.
  • Technical advice, business support and training to support communities in developing forest enterprises and community associations.
  • The financing of a Project Implementation Unit (PIU) to carry out project oversight and management functions, procurement, financial jurisdiction, coordination, social and environmental safeguarding, reporting and evaluation.

Expected results 

  • A target area of 380,500 hectares is expected to be under sustainable landscape management practices by the end of project.
  • At least 1500 forest households will have land-use or ownerships rights.
  • 11,500 forest dwellers are expected to have adopted sustainable land management practices.
  • Index for forest entrepreneurship. This indicator measures the percentage of beneficiaries who move from one level of business development to the next, benchmarking such criteria as e.g., number of products sold, production volume, and number of value chains created.
  • Qualitative benchmarks will include the community satisfaction rates of those participating under the program. The satisfaction levels of female participants will be a primary focus because the project is designed to reduce traditional gender gaps – land use rights and titling will be split by gender targets, with joint title rights for husbands and wives.

With the full fruition of all the above in Atalaya, the full power of the Ashaninka, Yine and Asheninca peoples to stand sentinel over their ancient forest home will be returned.