In the northeast of the Loreto region, the Putumayo Amazonas Program promotes the creation of the Great Putumayo Amazonas Landscape, a model of territorial planning and governance of natural resources in Amazonia with a comprehensive approach at the landscape scale. The Landscape’s planned extension is 4 million hectares, comprised of the territories of 44 native communities from nine Indigenous Amazonian ethnic groups, and six areas for the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, with the Yaguas National Park as a nucleus.
Building a participatory model of management for the Amazonian territory
In 1998, native communities in the northeast of the department of Loreto, Peru, sought support from the Instituto del Bien Común (IBC) in order to curb poor local resource use practices and illegal incursions by loggers, hunters and fishermen, which were putting pressure on resources key to their well-being. Responding to this challenge led to, over the following two decades, a joint endeavor: the establishment and management of a landscape-scale model for territorial ordering and natural resource governance in the Amazon, with a holistic approach.
In 2004 the Putumayo Amazonas Program was created to promote this innovative model of participatory governance, responding to the challenges posed by the landscape and taking into account its potential and the vision and culture of nine local indigenous peoples. To date, the Program has forged itself a space in regional and national policy through collaboration with authorities in various sectors.
The model comprises various components, such as strengthening governance capacities among local populations, organizing and implementing community surveillance systems, and fostering the resolution of conflicts stemming from the use of resources. It also involves developing a set of management tools, ranging from land and resource use planning, to community management of forests, fisheries and wildlife, and forest monitoring through remote sensing equipment.
A mosaic of conservation and sustainable use areas
The implementation of the model involves the establishment of the Putumayo-Amazonas Landscape, a mosaic of areas intended for the sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity and natural resources.
With a proposed extension of 4 million hectares, the Landscape covers the headwaters and middle courses of the Yaguas, Algodón, Cotuhé, Ampiyacu and Apayacu rivers, in the interfluves of the Napo, Putumayo and Amazonas rivers. It is located in the Maynas and Mariscal Ramón Castilla provinces, which are home to extensive Amazonian forests rich in natural and cultural diversity.
The Putumayo-Amazonas Landscape comprises the Ampiyacu Apayacu Regional Conservation Area (2010), the Maijuna Kichwa Regional Conservation Area (2016), the Yaguas National Park (2018) and three proposed areas for protection and sustainable use: Ere Campuya, Medio Putumayo and Bajo Putumayo. The mosaic is completed by the territories of 44 native communities, of the indigenous ethnic groups Bora, Huitoto, Ocaina, Yaguas, Ticuna, Kichwa, Maijuna, Kukama and Secoya.
Results of an ongoing work
While the Putumayo Amazonas Landscape is an ongoing work, there are already important achievements: the creation of 3 protected natural areas (with a joint extension of 1.7 million hectares); 7 titled native communities, 2 officially recognized native communities, and 13 community territories expanded. Significant progress has been made in regard to the regulation on the access and use of natural resources, law enforcement, and users’ organizations. These actions have resulted in the visible recovery of fauna and flora, which contributes to the well-being of communities.
Other achievements are related to native communities’ internal governance, and their involvement in local protected areas management and natural resources monitoring and control (supported by municipal and regional environmental authorities). Each of these actions is conducted through specifically designed environmental management and conflict resolution tools. Native communities are empowered and have translated their vision into strategic plans, which have, in some cases, been partially implemented through articulation with sustainable development plans driven at the municipal, regional or national level.
Sustainable economic initiatives – involving fisheries management, forest and fauna management, and culinary endeavors and crafts – have been successfully promoted. These have benefitted local indigenous populations, whose dependence on forest resources is high, and have also contributed to the sustainability of the landscape governance by helping to slow the progress of the illegal extractive economy.
Based on the successful experience in establishing and managing the Putumayo Amazonas Landscape, it is possible to replicate this territorial ordering and natural resource governance model in Loreto and other Amazonian regions.
The Putumayo Amazonas Program has established strategic alliances with public institutions (Regional Government of Loreto, ARA, DRAL, GERFOR, GRAI, DIREPRO, PEDICP, SERNANP, OSINFOR, SERFOR, MINCU, PRODUCE, MINAGRI, FEMA), scientific institutions (IIAP, Field Museum, UNAP), private (CECAMA, NCI, SPDA, SZF and WCS) and local indigenous organizations (FECONA, FECOIBAP, FECONAFRUP, FECOTIBA, FEPYRA, FEP.