Alto Mayo Conservation Initiative



The Alto Mayo Protected Forest (AMPF), established in 1987, covers 182,000 hectares of land in the Peruvian Amazon. The area is significant in terms of its high biodiversity, for its role in watershed protection and carbon sequestration, and for forming part of the Abiseo-condor-Kutuku Conservation Corridor; a highly threatened ecosystem with high numbers of endemic plant and animal species. Despite its designation as a Natural Protected Area, the area has been threatened by construction of the a national highway, which crosses the AMPF, and by insufficient funds for its management. The area has consequently been subject to widespread settlement and high levels of deforestation. Other threats include mega-development projects, such as the Initiative for the Integration of the Regional Infrastructure of South America (IIRSA), and increased coffee production. The ICAM was designed by Conservation International and a number of national partners in response to these threats. 

The main goal of the ICAM is to promote the sustainable management of the AMPF and its associated ecosystem services, to benefit local communities and the global climate. To achieve this and significant emissions reductions, the ICAM aims to design a new mechanism to increase the economic value of land to compete with destructive alternate land uses. One way this is being addressed is through the establishment of Conservation Agreements, between local communities and the AMPF Head Office.It is hoped that the financial sustainability of conservation agreements will be secured by compensation in the form of REDD+ benefits from future avoided deforestation. The Conservation Agreements are being designed and implemented by the Association Andean Ecosystems (ECOAN), which has significant experience working with the communities in and around the AMPF. The ICAM is also investing in improving the governance and enforcement capacity of the AMPF Head Office to address illegal activities in the area and to better manage the complex situation between local communities and the AMPF's goals. 

The Peruvian Society of Environmental Law (SPDA) is acting as legal adviser to the project and the Association for Research and Integrated Development (AIDER) is acting as the project's technical adviser. 

The project has been designed to the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCBS). The project received validation and verification to the CCB Standards Second Edition, Biodiversity Gold Level in December 2012 and has also been validated and verified to the VCS, with the first Verified Carbon Units (VCUs), under VCS, issued in December 2012. 

This initiative is part of CI-Peru's broader programme of work in the San Martin region to develop a Jurisdictional and Nested Framework for REDD+, which it is hoped will ultimately be used as a model for the national REDD+ programme.