Indigenous community signs the largest contract for sustainable forest management in Peru’s history



Posted on 05 October 2012  | 
• This initiative will support the indigenous community's articulation with the market under fair trade criteria
• The community is expected to receive close to USD 200,000 per year for sustainably harvested timber


Ucayali - September 14, 2012. The indigenous community of Puerto Esperanza, in the Eastern Peruvian Amazon, and Consorcio Forestal Amazónico, a timber company, recently signed an unprecedented contract, by which both parties agreed on joining efforts to sustainably manage 800 hectares of forest, out of the 20 000 hectares destined for management.

According to the agreement, the company will be in charge of the extraction and transportation of timber within a sector of the indigenous community’s territory, while the latter will provide the necessary documentation and permits under the framework of their Annual Operation Plan. All this, under FSC standards, which the company already complies with, and which the community on its way to officially complying with.

This agreement - which has been possible thanks to Ucayali’s Regional Government, the Ashéninka Indigenous Communities Federation of Atalaya - FECONAPA and the Amazonia Viva Project (funded by the European Union and WWF Germany) - enables Puerto Esperanza to ensure annual sales of sustainable timber for around USD 200 000 from this year on.

The Regional President of Ucayali, Jorge Velásquez Portocarrero, witnessed what turned out to be a very moving ceremony - in which the aforementioned contract was signed -, and thus congratulated the initiative which he called “historical”, as it sets a difference between the traditional scheme of purchase and sale of timber which often doesn't really benefit the involved communities.

The benefits go beyond the economical aspect, since CFA is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council – FSC, and thus all its operations comply with international standards which guarantee the minimum possible impacts on wildlife and the forest itself.

Given all the above, this scheme clearly differs from the “traditional” way of doing business between companies and indigenous communities. On this subject, Representatives of the Regional Direction for Forestry and Wildlife in Atalaya, Ucayali – DFFSA, stated “the old way of doing business is now history, that where 80% of the profit went to the loggers and just 20% was received by the community”. In addition, it was highlighted, that this is the first community in Ucayali to present such paperwork as a Forest Management Plan approved by the DFFSA, an approved environmental impact study, and which has engaged in direct coordination with the local office of community based forest management.

It is worth mentioning that after this first experience, another indigenous community (Bufeo Pozo in Ucayali) are now on their way to obtaining their permits for forest management following Puerto Esperanza´s path.

This groundbreaking way of doing business has been conceived and implemented with support by the Amazonía viva project, under the framework of a proposal that looks for the articulation of indigenous and local communities, authorities and companies to reduce deforestation and biodiversity loss by protecting and suitably managing Amazon forests, while improving local populations’ quality of life.

The Amazonía Viva Project is funded by the European Union and WWF Germany, and it is implemented in Peru and Colombia through various local partners: DAR, SNV, TRAFFIC, CorpoAmazonia, WWF Peru, WWF Colombia and Sinchi.
Presidente de la Federación Asheninka de Atalaya contemplando la madera extraída de los bosques de Puerto Esperanza.
© Diego Pérez / WWF Perú Enlarge
Miembros de la comunidad indígena trabajando por la conservación de los bosques en Puerto Esperanza, Ucayali
© Diego Pérez / WWF Perú Enlarge

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