The Peruvian Amazon contains over 69 million hectares of forest, making Peru the fourth largest tropical forest nation in the world and the second in the Amazon region.
Ongoing deforestation in the country threatens ecosystems that together store more than 30 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. Much of that forest loss is driven by smallholder producers practicing slash-and-burn agriculture on small plots of nutrient-poor soil where productivity declines rapidly over short periods of time, forcing farmers to abandon degraded lands and clear new areas of forest for cultivation.
Given rising private sector interest in zero deforestation-free production, Earth Innovation Institute’s approach in Peru is focused on strengthening and expanding public-private partnerships that support the design and implementation of development strategies that reduce deforestation, while increasing agricultural productivity and economic development in the Peruvian Amazon. Our strategy uses a “Production-Protection-Inclusion” (PPI) approach, where transitions to sustainable land management systems are supported by incentive packages for smallholders, and traditional and Indigenous communities, while safeguarding human rights.
With more income from sustainable production, farmers could conserve the soils, improve their quality of life and repay their investors. Intensified production, if managed properly, could help to stop deforestation rather than promote it.
There is a great opportunity for this transformational change and, as a consequence, to achieve low emissions rural development in the Peruvian Amazon, benefiting local people and the country, while providing global ecological services through climate change mitigation and biodiversity conservation.