Berlin, 20 March 2024

1.9 million new trees for the Andes: TUI Care Foundation empowers indigenous communities and plants trees with the new TUI Forest Peru

  • Celebrating International Day of Forests on March 21st, TUI Forest Peru is pledging to plant a total of 1.9 million trees in the famous Vilcanota mountain range
  • Increased attractiveness of the area through improvement and maintenance of 40 km of nature trails on the popular Vilcanota Trek and local environmental training 
  • 20 tree nurseries will be created and managed by the indigenous communities of the high Andes to increase local participation in reforestation efforts 

Berlin, 20 March 2024. Over 40% of Peru's territory is covered by forest. But deforestation is progressively threating this important natural habitat and, in particular, is negatively impacting the livelihoods of indigenous communities. TUI Forest Peru aims to restore and protect native forests in the High Andes by growing and planting native trees, addressing deforestation, supporting local livelihoods and building local leadership capacity. The initiative empowers local communities to plant new native trees in the Vilcanota mountain range close to Cusco.  

The TUI Care Foundation has committed to support the planting of a total of 1.9 million native trees, in partnership with the international NGO Global Forest Generation and the local organisation Asociación Ecosistemas Andinas. The focus of the reforestation efforts will be on Polylepis trees, that naturally adapt to growing in extreme Andean heights of 4,000 meters and above. Polylepis forests play an essential role in protecting the water security of millions of people, not just in the Andean mountains, but also in lowland towns and villages where glacial meltwater is a key source of water. They are also home to an abundance of wildlife, including Andean Condors, Spectacled Bears and Pumas, so they are also an important natural habitat. 

To achieve the ambitious outcomes of the initiative, at least 20 community-run nurseries will be built and maintained, and nursery technicians will be trained, leading to the restoration of approximately 800 hectares. The nurseries have one full-time nursery technician each, but they are communally managed in line with the social organisation of high Andean communities, where many people take turns taking care of the growing saplings.  

TUI Forest Peru will also improve and maintain 40 km of nature trails with informative signage and building infrastructure on the popular Vilcanota Trek. Visited by a growing number of tourists each year, the Vilcanota Trek is the main tourist trek through the Sacred Valley of the Incas, after the Inca Trail leading to Machu Picchu. The ecotourism experience covers nine government-recognised conservation areas managed by 14 communities, as well as ongoing standing forest protection sites and reforestation activities. The infrastructural investment will positively impact the attractiveness of the trail for visitors and support over 10,000 local community members who use the trails themselves to travel and earn from the income from camping sites and other tourism activities. Communities will also be supported with training on how to  manage  the Vilcanota Trek and protected areas in general, the provision of locally produced clean cookstoves, and environmental education workshops.  

TUI Forest Peru is part of the TUI Care Foundation’s global Forests programme, which plants trees and takes forest-based experiences to the heart of tourism communities in countries including Spain, the Dominican Republic, Kenya and Zanzibar.  

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