Biodiversity conservation in community reserves in the Amazon region

Project description

Title: Biodiversity conservation through co-management
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) as part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI)
Country: Peru
Lead executing agency: Peruvian Ministry of the Environment (MINAM)
Overall term: 2013 to 2017

Peru. Discussion about the co-management model. © GIZ / Katrin Toepfer


Peru has the second-largest area of Amazon rainforest within its borders. The encroachment of agriculture, illegal logging and the impact of climate change present a massive threat to the tropical rainforest. Deforestation is responsible for some 47 per cent of Peru's carbon dioxide emissions.

Ten community reserves – declared on the initiative of the indigenous population – cover around 2 million hectares or 13 per cent of the national system of conservation areas. They are managed as part of a co-management agreement between the state agency responsible for managing the conservation areas (SERNANP) and the indigenous population of the surrounding areas, represented by indigenous organisations similar to non-governmental organisations. The partners still lack the experience and instruments needed to implement the innovative management approach successfully.

Peru. Biodiversity fair in the Imiria community reserve. © GIZ / Sebastian Amend


The community reserves El Sira, Ashaninka and Machiguenga and the Imiria regional conservation area and its surrounding buffer zones are successfully co-managed to protect biodiversity and manage it sustainably.


To achieve efficient co-management of conservation areas, a relevant model must be developed in a participatory process, and traditional management instruments adapted. The project supports the co-management partners: the state agency responsible for managing the conservation areas (SERNANP) and the indigenous organisations, which have entered into an agreement on the co-management of the areas with a view to protecting and sustainably managing biodiversity. The project helps strengthen their organisational and working structures; participation mechanisms are set up, and the conditions are created for transparent cooperation based on trust between the institutions. In the communities, traditional, cultural knowledge is used in school lessons to strengthen the indigenous identity. At the same time, value chains of forest and fishery products are optimised to improve income and employment opportunities.

Peru. Participatory monitoring of fish stocks. © GIZ / Sebastian Amend


Cooperation between government authorities and indigenous groups has improved. Biodiversity conservation and sustainable development are called for in the community reserves and the surrounding areas; the partners coordinate activities so that they can either join forces or supplement each other's activities depending on the situation.

  • A co-management model developed in a participatory process stipulates the approach, responsibilities and the relationships between the partners.
  • The indigenous groups see the community reserves as part of their traditional territories, the biodiversity of which is being protected with support from the state. They thus enjoy a high level of acceptance among the local population.
  • The community reserve, as an integral part of regional development, puts an obligation on the local and regional governments to shoulder part of the responsibility and to cooperate across sectors.
  • Border controls and monitoring of the conservation areas by indigenous village patrols have led to a significant reduction in the number of violations of the conservation areas.
  • Incorporating intercultural, bilingual environmental education into school curricula preserves traditional, local knowledge about species diversity of flora and fauna and the use of numerous crops, and helps prevent malnutrition.
  • Sustainable management plans are in force for some 65,000 hectares of forest, enabling more than 30 indigenous village communities to find employment and increase their income by harvesting, processing and selling forest products such as wood, cocoa, natural rubber, the natural remedy copaiba oil and the natural colourant achiote.
  • Support particularly geared towards women's groups in marketing craft products has strengthened the position of the women in the village community.

Additional information

Video of the project documentation by Deutsche Welle about overfishing of the paiche (arapaima) in the Imiria regional conservation area (August 2016):

More than 2 m long and weighing 130 kg, the arapaima is the largest carnivorous freshwater fish in the Amazon region – and a delicacy. Its habitat, the water on which the indigenous communities depend, is threatened by intruders and destruction.