In 2017, the number of cocoa trees planted in the buffer zone of the Tambopata-Bahuaja Biodiversity Reserve reached 1 million. This is a huge milestone for the project which is addressing the drivers of deforestation in the region by establishing agroforestry systems designed to improve local sustainable livelihoods.
Since 2014, the project, located in Madre de Dios, Peru, has received financing through the Althelia Climate Fund, which Ecosphere+ represents to do a range of actions on the ground to fight deforestation. This includes developing a cocoa cooperative and restoring degraded agricultural lands through complex agroforestry systems in order to create an economic fence, or ‘buffer zone’, that protects the neighbouring Tambopata Reserve.
To date, through carbon financing, 1,250 hectares (ha) of agroforestry have been planted. By the end of the project in 2021, a further 2,750 ha, or 4,000 in total, of agroforestry will be planted. Technicians from the local implementing partner AIDER have, to date, worked with 195 farmers on supplying cocoa tree seedlings, providing training on grafting plants and growing techniques and supporting the farmers with maintenance of the crops as they grow. By the end of the project, the aim is to have worked with 400 farmers to restore degraded lands through transitioning to this system of cocoa farming. 25% of the farmers will be women, as empowering women is an important aspect of the project.
Across the cocoa farm land in the project, as part of the agroforestry systems and in additional to the 1 million new cocoa trees planted, there are also 70 high-value forest trees species such as Cedar, Bolaina blanca, Brazil nut, Tornillo and Capirona. This diversity helps to protect valuable forest species, provides wildlife corridors for local biodiversity which helps to combat challenges with destruction of habitat, all while providing critical services for the cocoa crops, such as shade, erosion control and nutrients for the soil.
The agroforestry systems in Tambopata are producing not only deforestation-free cocoa, but cocoa that is regenerating degraded landscapes and building sustainable livelihoods for local farmers. Read Aurelia’s story here.
2017 was the first harvest of cocoa from the project, and coincided with the completion building the cocoa processing facility. Read about how this helps the cocoa cooperative members here.