Win-win business: forest conservation and increased income
Since 2002, WWF Peru has worked alongside indigenous federations and communities, authorities and private companies. On one hand, it works to strengthen the capacities of the indigenous peoples for the sustainable use of their forests and to secure direct benefits. On the other hand, it promotes the certification of good forest practices in these territories and with private concession companies, as a means to give an added value to their products and link them to the market, thus improving the local quality of life.
Indigenous peoples, the new businessmen of the forests
Formerly, indigenous peoples were witnesses to but did not have a leading role in the timber extraction activities in their territories. The lack of effective mechanisms for their participation kept them isolated from a business that benefited only a few and affected their resources negatively.
WWF Peru saw a great opportunity in this challenge. It partnered up with over 40 native Awajun, Ashaninka, Asheninka, Amahuaca, Yine, Ese Eja and Shipibo native communities, and with continuous training and technical support, made it possible to reduce illegal logging significantly in Loreto, Junin, Madre de Dios and Ucayali through the design of over 30 territorial and community forest management plans. These are developed under environmental criteria, fostering fair trade and promoting a direct link between the communities and the market.
Today, these communities have nearly 400 000 hectares of forests sustainably managed, where timber and Brazil nuts (Bertholletia excelsa) are produced under sustainable practices, contributing towards the conservation of their ancestral forests through commerce. For example, the Asheninka indigenous community of Puerto Esperanza (Ucayali), obtained incomes that totaled US$ 14 000 during their first year under sustainable management and tripled that amount during their second year, reinvesting part of it in their management activities and directing the rest towards activities of social good within the community.
Conservation and fair trade
Certification is nothing more than a group of norms and criteria that, when applied correctly, guarantee that goods have been extracted, processed and commercialized under strict environmental and social measures, granting an added value to the certified product. This finally translates into improved sales opportunities for their producers.
Aside from having advised over half of the forest concessioners established in Peru, in 2004 WWF Peru became part of the efforts that led to the first certification granted – under Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) criteria – in 35 000 hectares of indigenous territories in Peru, making the Shipibo communities of Ucayali pioneers on forest management in the Peruvian Amazon.
Today, nearly 400 000 hectares – over 65 % of the national total - have been certified with assistance from WWF Peru. Additionally, the concessioners and other businessmen – in the chain of custody or timber processing - with FSC certification, are active members of the Global Forest & Trade Network (promoted by WWF) which is why they receive constant commercial assistance that allows them to generate links with important markets throughout the world. Through good practices promoted in the forest certification and fair trade framework, the Amazon is linked to the global market, resulting in the conservation of its forests and generating benefits for the local population.
- WWF participated in the first FSC certification granted to the indigenous Peruvian communities.
- WWF has supported more than 10 companies in the process of obtaining their certification.
With valuable support from: United States Agency for International Development (USAID), European Union, Jongeneel Golfers, Netherlands, WWF NL and WWF AT.