‘Biological diversity – or biodiversity – is the term given to the variety of life on Earth… It forms the web of life of which we are an integral part and upon which we so fully depend.’
Our Tambopata-Bahuaja project works closely with local communities. Together, we advance sustainable economic development and environmental protection by transforming over 820,000 hectares of threatened forest (an area about the size of Chicago).
We’re extremely proud to help bring real, positive change to the area’s indigenous and local communities. Because local change like this has a global impact on our entire climate.
This project spans the Tambopata National Reserve and part of the Bahuaja Sonene National Park. And it’s their landscapes that are threatened by illegal mining, logging, ‘slash and burn’ agriculture, and infrastructure development.
Forests are amazingly efficient at absorbing and storing massive amounts of carbon from the atmosphere – until they’re burned or processed. This then creates carbon dioxide emissions, the most abundant greenhouse gas causing climate change.
Which means that protecting our forests, such as the one in Tambopata-Bahuaja, is critical to managing global climate change.
By effectively putting a value on the carbon that the park stores in its forest, Tambopata-Bahuaja reduces global emissions by a total of 4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide– and that’s equivalent to 419,000 homes energy use for a year.
This means carbon revenue creates a reliable financing stream we can use to help target the causes of deforestation and create alternative economic activities.
But can just one area in one part of the world really have an effect on our global climate? Two independent, transparent, and globally recognized standards firmly believe it can. The Climate, Community, and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) verifies the benefits of the project to local communities, wildlife and biodiversity, and the climate. And the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) ensures the quality and accuracy of the accounting methodology used to measure the project’s climactic benefits. Read more about these standards here.
As a result, we’re proud to say that Tambopata-Bahuaja has earned Gold distinctions for biodiversity and climate change under these standards.
Tambopata-Bahuaja is in Madre de Dios, a region in south-eastern Peru in the Amazon Rainforest. Our project helps the local communities adapt to climate change and improves ecosystem resilience by integrating conservation and productive activities.
Working closely with the local communities, this project is restoring and transforming 4,000 ha of degraded land for cocoa cultivation. And to improve the security and surveillance of the conservation area, two checkpoints and five new rangers have been established by the project.
Tambopata–Bahuaja protects over 30 High Conservation Value (HCV) species, including the giant otter, the jaguar, the giant armadillo, and the blue macaw. HCV species are outstandingly significant or critically important at the national, regional or global level.
This is why HCV requirements are integrated into the principles and criteria of major sustainability certification schemes, such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). They also factor into purchasing and investment policies and sustainability commitments of global banks, financial institutions, traders, retailers, processors and distributors of wood, paper and agricultural commodities.
Included in this, project also protects the habitat of five endangered species, as listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The local and indigenous communities play a pivotal role in maintaining the integrity of this project. They are the drivers of their own transformation and in ensuring the global climate impact of what they do continues.
Approximately 11,500 people, mostly small-scale farmers, live in the project zone, including the Palma Real, Sonene and Infierno indigenous communities.
By 2021, the Tambopata-Bahuaja project will support over 400 cocoa production jobs.
Community engagement is key to ensuring our project is socially inclusive. Our project partner, a local NGO called AIDER, has been working in Madre de Dios since 2002 and has been instrumental in working to secure 188 land titles for local farmers. These titles give farmers much-needed legal recognition and security.
We’ve seen how the strength of the Tambopata-Bahuaja project depends on the unity and commitment of the local communities. And we will continue to help by focusing our efforts on supporting their capacity to establish sustainable economic opportunities.
Small enterprises are absolutely vital in creating positive change in rural communities, but many of them lack sufficient capacity or market connections to succeed without external support.
AIDER is working with Canadian NGO, Ecotierra, to support a cooperative of cocoa producers, a farmer-driven association that provides technical assistance, infrastructure for post-harvest management, quality control, and a route to market.
The project is currently working with 400 local farmers to cultivate high quality cocoa on 4,000 hectares of previously degraded land.
The Tambopata-Bahuaja project integrates conservation and sustainable approaches to productive land use. Organic, Fair Trade cacao production is being introduced in the production area surrounding the project (the ‘buffer zone’) with the ultimate goal of achieving commercial scale. The project has so far planted over a million trees in the buffer zone.
Find out more about these products and how to purchase them here.
The Tambopata-Bahuaja project is designed to be a new way of doing business. One that transforms local communities and ecosystems through multiple revenue streams, such as carbon assets, agricultural products, textiles and crafts.
Through a benefit-sharing agreement, the project investors also receive a fair return. It’s clear that Tambopata-Bahuaja has tangibly demonstrated the financial viability and sustainability of aligning economy and ecology.
And it perfectly shows how this model can be scaled globally.
You can help support this project in the Peruvian Amazon through taking responsibility for your carbon impact and helping to protect the trees in this project.
We invite you to join us.