Margarita Mora, Human Nature
Peruvian Farmers Change Attitudes Toward Forest ProtectionJuly 23, 2013 By Wilson Center Staff
The original version of this article, by Margarita Mora, appeared on Conservation International’s Human Nature blog.
I first visited Peru’s Alto Mayo Protected Forest in 2008. At the time, deforestation rates there were among the highest in the country. CI-Peru wanted to find a way to help communities and Peru’s National Service of Natural Protected Areas (SERNANP) keep their trees standing.
On that trip, we had hired a consultant to conduct a feasibility analysis to determine whether we should implement conservation agreements in the forests of the Yuracyacu watershed. I remember the consultant was worried about the reaction local people would have when they met us walking in the forest. At that point the farmers living there were unfriendly to visitors, as they were afraid that they would be expelled from the area.
Last week I returned to the Alto Mayo with staff from CI-Peru and CI-Europe, from local partner organizations ECOAN and EcoYungas, and from Fondation Ensemble. We walked for an hour and a half to one of the settlements in the Aguas Verdes watershed where farmers have signed conservation agreements – and I was struck by the differences I saw.
Video Credit: Field Spotlight: Roberto Carlos, courtesy of Conservation International.