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Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation helps fund Field Museum conservation efforts in Peru

CHICAGO The Field Museum announced today that it has received 409,416 euro (approximately $537,344 US dollars) from The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation for a three-year project: Establishing new conservation landscapes in Amazonian Peru.

Ten years of rapid biological inventories by The Field Museum's Environment, Culture, and Conservation (ECCo) team have resulted in the protection of 12 vast landscapes in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. Eight of these areas are in Peru a total of two million hectares in that country (an area the size of Massachusetts) have been officially declared with full recognition from the national government and 4.2 million additional hectares await final categorization and/or approval from the Peruvian Cabinet.

In addition, just last month, thanks to anticipated funds from The Prince Albert II Foundation, ECCo's work resulted in another area in Peru that is about the size of Delaware being officially declared a National Reserve. The new reserve is largely dedicated to the indigenous people, the Matses.

Ongoing changes in political structure and skyrocketing pressure from extractive industries now threaten these 4.2 million hectares of forests, once close to protection. With the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation funds, ECCo will focus on getting these forests legally secured in the next three years. Simultaneously, ECCo will work with Peru's NGOs and new Ministry of Environment to continue to pursue compensation for avoided deforestation as a mechanism for investing in living forests.

The project will address the following challenges:

  • Securing legal protection for high priority, already inventoried forests in Peru, in the face of increasing pressures from oil and mining industries and a scenario that aggressively favors extractive industries.
  • Establishing a framework for protected areas in Peru that provides solid, legal backing for the conservation of ancestral territories by indigenous residents.
  • Preparing protected areas for long-term financial sustainability for effective management through the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) voluntary carbon market.

The main direct beneficiaries of the project are the people living in and around the landscapes proposed for protection, as well as the unique biological communities that depend on these areas for survival. Indirect beneficiaries include all residents in the regions to be protected. Because these are enormous expanses, mitigation of global warming through avoided deforestation is another important outcome with wide-ranging, global benefits.

"Opportunities for conservation in the Andean foothills and Amazon lowlands are enormous. Unbroken forests still cover vast expanses of the Amazon. And although fewer intact tracts remain in the Andes, some still stretch from the rainforests in the lowlands all the way up to alpine meadows on the peaks. This generous grant from the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation will allow us to work collaboratively with Peruvian organizations and local residents to secure formal protection for these extraordinarily diverse, invaluable forests," said Debra Moskovits, Senior Vice President, Environment, Culture, and Conservation at The Field Museum.

In 2008, The Field Museum signed a memorandum of understanding with The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation underscoring the institutions' mutual interest in conserving the world's biodiversity.


Contact: Nancy O'Shea
Field Museum

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