Coffee farmers protect Peruvian rainforest | Global Ideas | DW | 30.06.2015
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Coffee farmers protect Peruvian rainforest

Coffee farmers in Peru have been exploiting and destroying the rainforest for decades. But now, a new project is trying to teach them that cultivating coffee and protecting the forest don't have to contradict each other.

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Project goal: Forest conservation, restoration and sustainable management

Implementation: In accordance with the national REDD+ strategies of the countries involved, the local population will be trained in modern agricultural methods to increase the yield of coffee grown on a limited area in order to prevent further clearing of precious trees, to enrich the species mix in the community forest and to restore the ecosystems. Through an exchange between participating partner countries Peru, Mexico and Ghana, communities can also profit from each others' experiences.

Project size: There were once 4,000 hectares of forest in the San Martin region, of which only 600 hectares remain. The project is being implemented in the three partner countries Peru, Mexico and Ghana; the total budget of the project is around 4.75 million euros ($5.3 million).

Biodiversity: Remaining and newly created forest provides habitat for numerous animal and plant species.

For decades, Peru's mestizo population has been advancing ever further into the jungle. More people than ever are living off the forest - and have destroyed it in the process, by clearing the forest to set up coffee plantations and other agricultural products. For example, in the community of Shampuyacu in the country’s remote San Martin region, there used to be about 4,000 hectares of forest. Today, only 600 remain. This project aims to reforest the area - and convince the locals that trees and coffee don't have to compete. As part of the REDD+ project, the people in the region are learning to not only live off the forest, but with it. They are still growing coffee and also protecting the forest at the same time.

A film by Dan Hirschfeld

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