Peru this week

A government program awards indigenous communities in Peru for protecting their ecosystems through commitments and incentives.

Andina reports that Peru’s Ministry of Environment is implementing financial incentives for indigenous communities that commit to protecting part of their natural forests.

The communities pledge to protect a certain number of hectares in a given year and then receive S/ 10 ($US 3.08) per hectare preserved.

This may seem like relatively little, but the example of the Chunchiwi community near Tarapoto shows it can add up to big gains.  By protecting 6,200 hectares, the community receives over US$ 19,000 per year.

The Ministry of Environment offers technical assistance to communities who use funds received from the program towards social and land management initiatives.

If this kind of program is sustained, the communities may benefit far more financially in the long-term than if their resources were simply conceded to large companies for mass exportation.

Instead of taxes on extracted resources being rerouted to local municipalities and lost in bureaucracy and corruption, this program provides a direct link between communities and the central government to cooperate on conservation.