ACA Plans to Protect Forest along the Interoceanic Highway
July 22, 2008
As the Interoceanic Highway is paved across highly biodiverse southeastern Peru, it is expected that forest loss will increase dramatically. Road improvement in the Amazon is typically associated with increased rates of deforestation, colonization, illegal logging, and land clearing for farming, artisanal gold mining, and cattle ranching. These practices spread through the construction of illegal secondary roads and increased in-migration. By some estimates, the paving could result in a 60 mile-wide swath of deforestation between Manu National Park and Tambopata National Reserve.
The Interoceanic Highway is especially problematic because it runs through previously remote, sparsely populated areas of pristine tropical forest. These forests are home to jaguars, giant river otters, rare bush dogs, and Harpy eagles.
ACA’s Interoceanic Highway Mitigation Strategy aims to reduce rampant deforestation by creating three major conservation corridors, which protect forest at high risk of logging and burning. The first corridor to be designed is the Malinowsky Conservation Corridor, which will conserve 210,000 hectares (518,920 acres) of primary forest. The Malinowsky Corridor preserves a forested corridor between Manú National Park and Tambopata National Reserve via ACA’s Los Amigos Conservation Concession
In dialogue with regional government and local partner organizations, ACA is designing the Malinowsky Corridor to include a mosaic of protected areas and support sustainable development alternatives to logging and slash-and-burn farming. Some of the proposed sustainable development alternatives include: sustainable forestry, community agroforestry, ecotourism, and carbon finance. These tools can ensure conservation of forest and biodiversity across the last continuous forest in the southwestern Amazon. They can also avoid the emissions of millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.