Los Amigos Offset Program
In 2001, Peru approved the world's first conservation concession in a little-known Amazonian watershed in Manu National Park’s buffer zone. Eleven years later, the 360,000 acre Los Amigos Conservation Concession is a model conservation area patrolled by local forest rangers and managed under a renewable 40-year contract to the Amazon Conservation Association's (ACA) sister organisation, the Association for the Conservation of the Amazon Basin (Asociación para la Conservación de la Cuenca Amazónica; ACCA).
This reserve conserves the region's high levels of biodiversity, hosts the Amazon's most active research station, and serves as a buffer for indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation in the vast headwaters of the Los Amigos River. As part of its watershed conservation strategy, ACA is preparing to sell avoided deforestation carbon offset credits. A cutting-edge assessment by Winrock International shows that the forest in the concession holds 79.4 million tons of CO2. Deforestation that will accompany the new Brazil-Peru Interoceanic highway threatens to release this massive store of carbon.
Carbon financing will keep this forest intact while providing benefits to local people and stimulating scientific research and training. Los Amigos carbon offsets (PDF) will meet both the Voluntary Carbon Standard and the Climate Community and Biodiversity Standard to ensure benefits for local people and the rich forests in which they live.
Conservation Concession (Concesión de Conservación Los Amigos, CCLA) Management Plan has been approved by Peru’s General Forests and Wildlife Directorate (Dirección General Forestal y de Fauna Silvestre, DGFFS). The innovative inclusion of a “Payments for Environmental Services” chapter in this Management Plan is groundbreaking in Peru and opens the door for the use of carbon as a financial sustainability mechanism. This important step has allowed ACA/ACCA to sign an addendum to the concession agreement with the Peruvian government that specifies that they can market carbon. Now environmental services can help offer tangible benefits to local communities, and improve their participation in protecting these forests in the future.
In 2006, Winrock International used satellite images and extensive ground calibration to determine that the concession stores the equivalent of 79.4 million tons of CO2 as above-ground biomass.