Posted on 23 August 2012    
WWF Peru's Specialist Engineer Alonso Cordova
© Alonso Cordova / WWF
Interview with Alonso Córdova
WWF Peru Coordinator in Madre de Dios

Revaluing the Amazon and its role as a climate regulator

Besides its remarkable natural wealth, the Madre de Dios region in Southeastern Peru is gaining everybody’s attention due to the increasingly complex environmental problems it faces. In the last years, issues such as the construction of the South Interoceanic Highway and the astronomical rise in the price of gold (which has already caused deforestation of 30,000 hectares and boosted a contagious gold rush),have been generating increasing threats to its natural resources.

However, through the Round Table on Environmental Services and REDD +(MSAR ), the Madre de Dios region is also leading one of the most interesting processes nationwide to promote the conservation of its forests through REDD + (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) schemes.

Recently, through the Ministry of the Environment (MINAM), the Peruvian Government has been increasingly acknowledging this important effort, actively driven by several public and private institutions on a local level. To learn more about this work and the potential of REDD + to foster a sustainable development strategy for this region of the Peruvian Amazon, we interviewed Engineer Alonso Córdova, WWF Peru´s Specialist, and the MSAR´s Technical Secretary.

How did the MSAR start and who integrates it?

AC: The MSAR started in 2009 as a result of the joint effort by different regional stakeholders interested in boosting REDD+ locally, as well as ramping up regional experiences to help in the process of developing national REDD+ methodologies and policies.

We are working, with the MSAR, on the vision of including all the stakeholders involved on what happens inside the forest; regional government, civil society, indigenous associations, private companies and associations of producers. It is based on this joint effort that the MSAR has gained strength and is now fostering very important processes.

Which concrete initiatives is the MSAR currently leading?

AC: We are currently elaborating the Deforestation base-line for Madre de Dios, as well as the assessment of 7 methodologies to measure deforestation at a local level.

The base-line is crucial to know how much has been deforested and at what speed, and based on this, to make projections for future scenarios. The assessment of methodologies is critical to define how the data must be solicited (on field and through satellite images) to analyze the progress on deforestation and forest degradation.

Out of the 7 methodologies, the one that adjusts the most to the international standards and is more suitable to be replicated elsewhere will be chosen. Finally, the selected methodology will be presented to MINAM with the objective of being incorporated to the national REDD + strategy.

What potential do the forests of Madre de Dios have to stock carbon and mitigate the effects of climate change?

AC: They have a very interesting potential yet to be investigated. There are several types of forests in Madre de Dios and each one has a different capacity to stock carbon. In this regard,, we are currently developing the Bio-mass Map of Madre de Dios’ forests, for which we are systematizing information collected by different institutions of 600 hundred bio-mass parcels within the Region, which measure the volume of living matter in each one of them. With this information we will be able to estimate the quantity of carbon stocked in each type of forest and then in the entire region.

How do you see the future of Madre de Dios based on its progress in REDD + and towards a green economy?

AC: What we are achieving in Madre de Dios is really important. We are currently proposing activities and methodologies from our local reality to contribute towards a regional strategy to tackle deforestation which at the same time can be embraced by the National Government as part of the national REDD + strategy.
Besides REDD +, this region is building a policy framework that aims towards a low carbon development strategy based on the conservation of its forests, the sustainable management of natural resources, as well as the implementation of river basin and landscape management approaches.

For more information on forests and climate, click here
Contact: alonso.cordova@wwfperu.org

*This work is possible thanks to the support of the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Sall Family Foundation

WWF Peru's Specialist Engineer Alonso Cordova
© Alonso Cordova / WWF Enlarge

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