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Net-Zero Deforestation Zones (NZDZ)

Counteracting Deforestation in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru

The Andean Amazon forests of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru are rich in biodiversity but face many threats to their survival, including illegal and irresponsible logging, gold mining, cattle ranching and the conversion of forestland to farmland. The Net-Zero Deforestation Zones (NZDZ) project helps farming- and forest-dependent communities in the region counteract deforestation and forest degradation, as well as enhance their carbon stocks, through the sustainable management of farms and forestland. Additionally, the project seeks to ensure that local communities benefit economically from their efforts via government programs and private-sector initiatives that reward them for the climate services provided by their sustainably managed lands.

NZDZ focuses its efforts on high-priority landscapes in the region, working with the Wamani community and Hatun Sumako Parish in Napo, Ecuador; the Tres Islas and Infierno Indigenous communities in Madre de Dios, Peru; and the municipalities of Doncello, Florencia and Paujil in Colombia.

In collaboration with partners in each of the three countries, the Rainforest Alliance is building the capacity of local stakeholders and institutions to participate in regional and national REDD+ systems that reward sustainable management. NZDZ also includes the establishment of a system whereby communities with forested lands are involved in monitoring, reporting and verification of greenhouse gas emissions and removals. The project’s activities include:

  • Determining baseline conditions against which future changes in forest cover will be evaluated
  • Improving the process of land-use planning
  • Implementing carbon-mitigation strategies, including reforestation and afforestation

Each organization involved in NZDZ brings its own expertise to bear on the project. The Rainforest Alliance is leading the drive to:

  • Implement best management practices on farms and in forests, including in silvopastoral systems (which combine forestry and grazing) and agroforestry systems (such as shaded coffee farms)
  • Improve and optimize emission-reduction techniques that are aligned with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification standard for responsible forestry
  • Facilitate market linkages to private-sector financing as a way of rewarding forest owners for their carbon sequestration and emission-reduction achievements
  • Conduct training, capacity building and technical assistance in Ecuador and Peru to support the establishment of robust REDD+ systems that feature significant social and environmental safeguards

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