Conservation value and special characteristics
Created in 2001, Cordillera Azul National Park covers 13,531 square kilometres of Amazonian jungle, sheltering more than 4,000 species of plants in its forests; not only timber trees, but also shiringa, cacao and wild tomatoes. The park is home to fifteen threatened species, such as the spectacled bear and the mountain dog, unique species of amphibians, reptiles, and birds such as Capito wallacei. In recent years, at least 20 new species have been discovered, several still to be classified. In the buffer zone of the park there is an increasing number of population centers, standing at 530 today, as well as some native communities of four Amazonian ethnic groups; there is also evidence of the presence of indigenous communities in isolation. The Park protects the headwaters of 45 basins, providing water to more than 350,000 people. Through a contract with SERNANP, the Peruvian management authority for protected areas, the Centro del Conservación, Investigación y Manejo de Áreas Naturales (CIMA) is in charge of the Park’s management. The Park has been part of the IUCN Green List since 2018.
In the buffer zone of Cordillera Azul National Park, forest conversion to agriculture drives deforestation, land degradation and fragmentation. Monocultures, such as corn, rice, palm oil, coffee and cacao, take the place of biodiversity-rich forest, while illegal crops such as coca are still present. High levels of immigration, land trafficking and overlapping land rights complicate the situation. Climate change adds the threat of natural disasters, to which the area is highly vulnerable.
The Park avoids the emission of an average of 2.5 million tons of CO2 per year, which has provided key funding for conservation through a REDD+ project, in partnership with Althelia Climate Fund. In addition, the Park has unexplored tourism potential, as well as significant scientific value. Though hard to access, the Park offers exclusivity and a vision of unexplored jungle that is difficult to find anywhere else on the planet.
INC is working with CIMA, as well as SERNANP and other partners to develop an overall financing strategy and create business plans for potential financing opportunities, through donations and investments.
INC experts are working with a locally based finance specialist to prepare business plans for selected products and services that have the potential to add funding for conservation and management activities in the park and achieve its financial sustainability.