World Land Trust (WLT) is supporting grass roots projects in Peru that are successfully demonstrating community led approaches to nature conservation.
In partnership with Naturaleza y Cultura Peru (NCPeru), WLT is funding the development of community owned and managed Areas de Conservación Privada (Private Conservation Areas or ACPs) in north west Peru. Recognised under Peruvian law, ACP status may be granted to land in community or individual ownership following a stringent application process.
WLT and NCPeru are supporting this process with three communities (Tabaconas, Sallique and Segunda y Cajas). Once the ACPs are formed, around 100,000 acres (over 40,000 ha) will be legally recognised by Peru’s National System of Protected Areas.
ACP’s are zoned into areas of strict conservation and areas of sustainable use (agriculture, cattle ranching, tourism). Agreeing these zones is a major task as it involves building consensus within communities which are often scattered across large areas.
The success of the projects so far is testament to the dedication of NCPeru staff who convene community meetings to mediate discussions. “Building consensus for managing community land is a huge challenge, which NCPeru is addressing by building strong relationships with communities. NCPeru spends extended periods in the field building partnerships with community leaders, and these leaders have the trust and confidence of community members,” said David Wright, WLT’s Head of Programmes, following a recent field trip to the projects.
During the site visit, WLT staff attended a number of community meetings and explained why the Trust believes it is important to provide funding to establish ACPs. This communication was vital as the projects are located in an area where local people are suspicious of international funding, following conflicts with mining companies with an interest in exploiting the area’s mineral wealth.
WLT is using its funding to support the community consultation required as part of the ACP application process. Funds are also being used to support technical training in sustainable farming methods.
WLT staff were very impressed with the projects’ progress. “World Land Trust’s partnership with NCPeru has been greatly strengthened by this site visit,” said David.
Protecting the biodiversity of this area is a high priority for WLT and NCPeru because the development of roads is opening up the area to exploitation for unsustainable slash and burn agriculture.
Pictured above left to right: Zoila Vega (NCPeru Huancabamba Biodiversity Officer), Alex More (Director NCPeru), David Wright (WLT Head of Programmes), Charlotte Beckham (WLT Conservation Programmes Coordinator), Katty Carrillo (NCPeru Project Coordinator), Segunda y Cajas community member, Jeasmire Nuñez (Segunda y Cajas Huancabamba NCI Coordinator).
You can support conservation work in Peru by donating to WLT’s Action Fund, and specifying in the comments box that the donation is for Peru.