The Manu Biosphere Reserve in Peru is one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. But the expansion of agriculture is causing forest loss. A conservation project is bringing people and nature back into harmony.
The remote village of Patanmarca is located in a remote area of the Peruvian Andes at the edge of the Manu National Park. For a long time, the reserve, where agriculture is forbidden, was a source of irritation for communities in need of arable land. But for some time now, as locals have developed new sources of income in harmony with nature and beyond farming, attitudes towards the park have been changing.
With the help of the Frankfurt Zoological Society (ZGF), former farmer Armando Zuñiga was trained as a ranger and firefighter. On-site training was provided by the Peruvian park authority SERNANP in cooperation with Spanish partners. A total of five villagers have now been certified and are responsible for training the community fire brigades.
Zuñiga's wife, Fanny Cruz, collaborated with other locals to set up a textile association in the community, and is now able to make a living from selling colorful wool and alpaca fabrics. José Jesús Zuñiga used to be a maize farmer, but with the support of the ZGF he has learned to raise bees and produce honey.
The project: Supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment within the framework of the International Climate Initiative (IKI). As part of the IKI's coronavirus aid package, the school in the mountain village of Patanmarca received an internet connection, which allows children to take part in online lessons. The community's production associations hope the digital connection will help them to market their products.
Project funding: 2.5 million euros ($3 million)
Project duration: until December 2021
A film by Carolina Quesada and Cristian Bonilla