For the first time, two protected areas in Peru have been included in the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) prestigious Global Protected Areas Programme Green List. These are the Cordillera Azul National Park and Amarakaeri Communal Reserve, which have been recognized as natural spaces with high conservation standards worldwide.
This distinction was announced in November 2018, during the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 14), held in the Egyptian city of Sharm al-Sheikh.
Cordillera Azul National Park is located between the Huallaga and Ucayali rivers, in the departments of Loreto, Ucayali, Huánuco and San Martín, the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve being in Madre de Dios. Both represent a model of participatory management and sustainable development, where integration with the private sector is promoted through management contracts with non-governmental organizations and indigenous communities.
In the case of the Cordillera Azul National Park, a public-private alliance has been promoted with the CIMA Cordillera Azul NGO (executor of the Management Contract), which has made it possible to establish conservation strategies such as the REDD+ Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation project and the promotion of sustainable economic activities such as cocoa agroforestry.
With respect to the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve, the Management Contract with ECA Amarakaeri represents a co-management or joint participation model, in which indigenous communities are strategic allies for conservation and sustainable local development.
Recognized protected areas
Cordillera Azul National Park (PNCAZ) is a natural area that seeks to protect unique species and biological communities, as well as conserving endangered habitats such as high altitude swamps, spongy forests and dwarf groves, reddish stone hills, lakes, streams and high altitude rivers.
IUCN highlighted the creation of this protected area to avoid the deforestation of tropical mountain forests. In this regard, the international organization mentioned the annual report of Peru's National Forest Program, in which it is calculated that 64,000 hectares would have been deforested in the last ten years if the Cordillera Azul had not been protected, i.e. 5% of the park.
The Amarakaeri Communal Reserve seeks to contribute to the protection of the basins of the Madre de Dios and Colorado rivers, thus ensuring the stability of land and forests that maintain the quality and quantity of water, as well as the ecological balance for the development of Harakmbut native communities.
This natural area is also a refuge for several flora and fauna species, thus protecting a center of great biological diversity.
According to Trevor Sandwith, Director of IUCN's Global Protected Areas Programme, the improvement in the conservation standards of this reserve is due to shared management between the government and indigenous communities. "It is one of the first protected areas in the world with community governance", he said.
Did you know?
Peru is the second country on the IUCN Green List in South America, the first being Colombia with three certified areas.
The Green List is an IUCN programme, created in 2012 with the aim of improving the management of protected areas in order to achieve effective results in nature conservation; it thus certifies compliance with objective criteria related to governance, protected area design and planning, management effectiveness and conservation results.
Sources: MINAM / SERNANP / La Vanguardia / IUCN