TUI Forest Peru

Peru is one of five South American countries which share the Amazon, and 40% of its territory is covered by forest.

Forests help to protect the population from droughts and floods. They also play a key role in providing major metropolitan areas with freshwater, by capturing rainwater and recharging underground aquifers. But climate change and deforestation are making life for these beautiful habitats progressively more difficult.

TUI Forest Peru aims to restore and protect native forests In the Andes mountains near Vilcanota, by growing and planting native trees, addressing deforestation, supporting local livelihoods and building local leadership capacity. During the project period, the objectives are to grow and plant 1.9 million native trees locally, to protect 10,000 hectares of existing high Andean forests, to maintain the signage and infrastructure of the 40km ecotourism experience Vilcanota Trek, and to actively involve 10,000 local people in restoration and conservation activities.

High Andean forests, particularly Polylepis, capture water from glacial run-off as well as mist rising from the cloud forests below. They slowly release the water to build permanent streams and wetlands, as well as carbon-rich soil and ecosystems. They also serve as natural water reservoirs which provide water to local communities and cities.  Areas without forests are increasingly experiencing disastrous cycles of drought and flood.

This impact is linked to migration out of communities and into urban centres, which inevitably puts more pressure on natural resources. High Andean Forest restoration therefore helps to increase water security, provides new incomes, boosts community health, and counteracts cultural loss.

TUI Forest Peru is pledging to grow and plant a total of 1.9 million native trees. This includes building and maintaining 20 community-run nurseries and training nursery technicians, leading to the restoration of approximately 800 hectares. The 20 nurseries officially have one full-time nursery technician each, but they are communally managed in line with the social organisation of these high Andean communities, where many people take turns taking care of the growing saplings. Training on seedling propagation is carried out throughout the year by ECOAN.

TUI Forest Peru also protects 10,000 hectares of existing forest by helping to establish and maintain Private Conservation Areas (PCAs). alongside 21 local communities, including the titling of ancestral land. This will help to preserve more than 22 IUCN-listed species. as well as preventing soil degradation from glacier runoff. Protected Conservation Areas in Peru are recognised by the government and are evaluated and renewed every two years. Communities cannot apply to establish these areas unless they have a legal entitlement to the lands. In Vilcanota, approximately 8,600 hectares are already under protection through PCAs, and over the next three years, several of these will require renewal, and at least one new area will be established.

Administration of protected areas also involves forest fire prevention and management. In Vilcanota, 3 forest-fires operation centres will be maintained, which involves providing equipment, training local community members and delivering general educational workshops on preventing and managing forest fires.

TUI Forest Peru will maintain 40 km of nature trails, providing them with informative signage and building infrastructure on the Vilanota Trek.  This ecotourism experience covers nine government-recognised conservation areas managed by 14 communities, as well as ongoing standing forest protection sites and reforestation activities. This infrastructural investment will positively impact approximately 10,800 community members who use the trails themselves to travel and earn from the income of camping sites.

Used by over 5,000 tourists each yesr, the Vilcanota Trek is the main tourist trek through the Sacred Valley of the Incas after the Inca Trail leading to Macchu Picchu. Also included in this work with the community are signed agreements regarding the management of the Vilcanota Trek and protected areas in general, the provision of clean cookstoves, and environmental education workshops. The cookstoves are produced locally, bought by ECOAN, and delivered to local communities with whom they have signed agreements regarding native forest reforestation and conservation management.

Overall, TUI Forest Peru will actively involve 10,000 people in restoration and conservation activities, including seed and cutting, collection, plant propagation, reforestation campaigns, maintenance and construction of ecotourism facilities, boosting local livelihoods.

Project Partners

Global Forest Generation’s (GFG) mission is to restore forest ecosystems – at the scale needed to reverse the climate and biodiversity crisis. It does so by developing large-scale, multi-country restoration initiatives across critical ecosystems and catalyse the tools, resources, partnerships and capacities needed for local leaders to succeed in the long term.

Asociación Ecosistemas Andinas (ECOAN) is a non-governmental non-profit organisation dedicated to the preservation of endangered species of forests of Queuña in the mountains of Cusco, working hand in hand with the local communities. For over twenty years, ECOAN has been partnering with indigenous communities to provide long-term restoration and protection of native Polylepis forests in the high Andes of Peru. Harnessing local and indigenous principles of “Ayni and Minka”, which in high Andean cultures comes close to the meaning of “reciprocity and shared communal work” to collaboratively create a forest conservation model driven by and for local and indigenous communities is ECOAN’s unique innovation. It results in forging trusting, enduring relationships with the people planting and protecting the forests as a communal service where every villager participates, and a particularly cost-effective, as well as a profoundly culturally-respectful approach to restoration. 

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