Local and Regional Collaboration: Land Use Planning in San Martin, Peru
Worked with local government to integrate biodiversity values into local planning processes.
Strengthened local capacity by providing conservation planning assistance and training through NatureServe Vista decision-support software.
In cooperation with local partners, developed analytical methods and tools that include existing ecological and economic zoning data to recommend land use solutions that balance protection of the environment with sustaining local communities in San Martin.
Demonstrate feasibility of this approach through a pilot project that can serve as a model for other parts of the Andes-Amazon basin.
The department of San Martin, Peru, located in the Andean foothill transition to the Amazon, harbors rich biodiversity and includes important protected areas, such as Rio Abiseo and Cordillera Azul. Moyobamba, San Martins capital known as the city of orchids, is home to over 3,500 orchid species native to the region. In recent decades, San Martin has experienced significant growth in population and agricultural activity. Because of this, there is increasing pressure on existing protected areas, and growing interest in identifying effective options for conserving the regions natural values.
In this context, NatureServe stepped in to help the San Martin Regional Government to develop a land use master plan to guide economic development and resource conservation. Several key local partners collaborated with NatureServe on the project. The Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonía Peruana (IIAP) provided technical assistance in land use planning to San Martin and other Peruvian departments in the Amazon basin. The Proyecto Especial del Alto Mayo (PEAM), a local public/private partnership, focused on land use issues in the northern-most Alto Mayo River watershed in the department. The San Martin Regional Government has taken the lead in regional land use planning just as the national process of decentralization is placing more responsibility for managing natural resources on local governments.
Using the decision-support software NatureServe Vista, the team combined conservation information gathered from NatureServe and local partners, such as terrestrial ecosystems types and plants and animals of concern, and compared those with current and projected land use for agriculture, highways and forestry. The results were then presented in different scenarios with different levels of biodiversity and land use representation to identify a sustainable and efficient land use planning strategy.
These analyses were completed and demonstrated for regional officials in March 2007. We continue to work with key partners in San Martin and other local governments to advance the application of these methods and data.