Peru earns millions from REDD+ programs to stop deforestation

Photo credit: Andina / SPDA

REDD+ conservation efforts between 2013 and 2015 have brought $33.5 million to Peru through an international reward scheme aimed at reducing deforestation.

Programs for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, known as REDD+, financially reward countries who meet specific in reducing carbon emissions, conserving or increasing forest carbon and forest management. Peru implemented the program in 2 million its 16 million hectares of sheltered forests.

REDD+ employ a multi-faceted pilot program including governments, NGOs and the private sector. They offer pay by performance and enforce a strict verification system including field inspections, satellite imagery to monitor forest clearance and community consultations.

“Protected areas ensure the provision of vital ecosystem services for subsistence. Some of them are already investment and public and private projects. The most emblematic are related to forest carbon [linked to climate change mitigation] and regulating hydrological services [to ensure fresh water cycle for thousands of Peruvians]. These projects have set a trend for new public and private investment,” Jose Capella, chief of the Forestry Program of the Peruvian Society for Environmental Law (SPDA) told Andina.

The four rewarded conservation projects were the Cordillera Azul National park, Bahuaja Sonene National Park, Alto Mayo Protected Forest and the Tambopata National Reserve. While Tambopata has experienced deforestation due to illegal mining, REDD+ say it is important to pay out on even partial successes to encourage reinvestment and win political capital.

The REDD Desk ranks Peru’s rate of deforestation fourth out of seven countries in the Amazon basin after Brazil, Venezuela and Bolivia. Between the year’s 2001 and 2012 Peru lost 1.5 million hectares of forest, or almost 10% of its total.

At the COP-15 summit in Copenhagen in 2009, developed countries agree to provide $100 billion dollars via REDD+ programs to developing countries who slow deforestation. The program’s goal is to halve deforestation by 2030. Doing nothing, environmentalists say, could result in environmental damages costing $1 trillion a year.

In a similar pay-for-conservation scheme, Norway’s Rainforest Foundation in 2014 signed an agreement with Peru’s indigenous organization AIDSEP for $300 million to fight deforestation. From 2014 through 2017, Norway will pay an annual $50 million and a further $250 million if reduction targets are met.

Peru aims to have no emissions from deforestation or changes in land usage by 2021.

Peru uses the money to invest in alternative businesses for local communities such as agriculture, agroforestry, tourism and handcrafts. Capella added that 200 families in the Alto Mayo Protected Forest were given certification to grow organic coffee to export to the United States. He said REDD+ is “win-win” for Peru’s environment, health and the economy.


Planes de conservación de bosques en ANP generan más de S/ 114 mllns (Andina)

Carbon credits from forest conservation would crash carbon market, says Greenpeace (Mongabay)

What is REDD+? (

REDD in Peru (

AIDESEP and Rainforest Foundation Norway warn that Peru must improve policy on forests and indigenous peoples (


  • I think the author has completely misunderstood what the term “forest carbon” refers to (“Forest carbon relates to the coal stores found under the rain forest.”) and by extension has misunderstood what REDD is about and how it works. The Wikipedia page on REDD is one place to start to understand what REDD is about, or here is an infographic illustrating what forest carbon is:

  • Yes, the word “carbon” is another term for coal; but I feel the author has a sincere interest in the problem of deforestation & may not be technically correct. Don’t allow very minor semantics to hinder a noble cause; every time Peru loses even a single tree – we all suffer.

  • This is not minor semantics, it is a misunderstanding of what part of the earth’s system is even in question. Forest carbon is part of the biosphere – it refers to the carbon stored in living trees that is emitted to the atmosphere when trees are cut and decompose or are burned. Coal is a fossil fuel that is found underground and is extracted through mining. Carbon is not “another term for coal” – coal is one form that carbon can take, but there are many others: for example, forest carbon. Forest carbon and coal are simply different stories (I’m not sure Peru even has any coal). I am sure the author has a sincere concern for the environment, but as a journalist he has a responsibility to get the basic science right if he is trying to improve public understanding of these important issues.

  • “REDD+ incentives developing countries to keep their forests standing by offering result-based payments for actions to reduce or remove forest carbon emissions.” []. (“Partial) results” are calculated in the following way: deforestation is going on as usual; the project evaluates a greater amount of future deforestation; the difference is REDD+ result. There is no evidence that deforestation in Peru has slowed down. With the main drive being the development of infrastructure; that is government driven. A government that, as the article stress, is even not willing to stop illegal activities visible from space going on within a national park, and that allows legal deforestation out of it. That’s being rewarded by REDD+ money. In order to better legalize the fraud the UN, after having sold the pay-for-result mechanism, has diverted funds to the UN-REDD Programe by which money is spent in the business-as-usual manner “assists countries to develop the capacities needed to meet the UNFCCC’s REDD+ requirements, etc.” (= consultants, bureaucracies, and beautiful reports). The idea that an international organization is needed to teach nationals how to stop axes, chainsaws and bulldozers is by itself laughable. The pay-for-result mechanism would on the other hand provide an immediate return for any additional investment needed to enforce restrictive measures.

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