Peru REDD: Nut concessions
The Brazil Nut Concessions project is a REDD initiative located in the Madre de Dios region of the Peruvian Amazon. It stands to protect an estimated 300,000 hectares of rainforest and enable local communities to improve their livelihoods by practising sustainable agriculture. In particular, it invests in high quality brazil nut processing facilities, delivers training and connects farmers with international markets. Madre de Dios contains some of Peru’s richest biodiversity, however, if ranching and unsustainable farming continue at the present rate, its natural resources will be significantly depleted. In addition to preventing deforestation and promoting biodiversity, the project will have saved 65m tonnes of CO2 emissions by 2040.
Felicitas Ramirez earns her living harvesting brazil nuts in the small village of Alegria. Prior to the project, nut theft and illegal logging had been rife, particularly with a major new highway making it easier for people to access the forest. Felicitas explains: “When the trees fall across the path, we are even happy, because those guys with motorbikes cannot come in and steal… Sometimes people even come by my house and ask if Felicitas is around; it is so that they can go in peace and steal.”
Now, Felicitas and her fellow farmers are empowered to better define and manage their land, and in doing so, protect the ancient forest that sustains them. The introduction of a nut processing plant and the connection with international markets boosts their profits, reducing the temptation to convert land for less sustainable types of farming. Meanwhile, the ongoing surveillance efforts deter would-be thieves. As Felicitas explains, it has given them hope: “We can look after our forest and also ourselves. Things will get better now.”