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Los Amigos Carbon

In 2001, Peru created the world's first conservation concession in a little-known Amazonian watershed in Manu National Park’s buffer zone.

Seven years later, the 360,000 acre Los Amigos Conservation Concession is a model protected area patrolled by local forest rangers and managed under a renewable 40-year contract to ACA’s sister organization Asociación para la Conservación de la Cuenca Amazónica (ACCA).

This reserve conserves the region's world-famous biodiversity, hosts the Amazon's most active research station, and serves as a buffer for indigenous peoples who live in voluntary isolation in the vast headwaters of the Los Amigos River.

As part of its strategy to conserve the watershed in perpetuity, ACA is preparing to sell avoided deforestation carbon offset credits.

A cutting-edge assessment by Winrock International shows that the forest in the concession holds 79.4 million tons of CO2. Deforestation that will accompany the new Brazil-Peru Interoceanic highway threatens to release this massive store of carbon.

Carbon financing will keep this forest intact while providing benefits to local people and stimulating scientific research and training. Los Amigos carbon offsets (PDF) will meet both the Voluntary Carbon Standard and the Climate Community and Biodiversity Standard to ensure benefits for local people and the rich forests in which they live.


The project focuses on:

  • Conservation of hyperdiverse forest. World-record counts of birds, mammals, butterflies, beetles, and arboreal ants have all been documented in or near the conservation concession.
  • Pure water. The concession offers a secure source of clean water to the villages and cities along the Madre de Dios River.
  • Isolated indigenous people. The concession blocks access of illegal loggers to a reserve for nomadic traditional people who have chosen to live in isolation from modern society. These people make seasonal use of the protected concession.
  • Science and training. The biological research station at the concession is now the most scientifically productive in the Amazon basin. It generates the basic knowledge needed to drive future conservation efforts, and is helping train a new generation of scientists and land managers.

Carbon Offset Potential

The Los Amigos Conservation Concession is 145,945 hectares of intact Amazonian rainforest.

In 2006, Winrock International used satellite images and extensive ground calibration to determine that the concession stores the equivalent of 79.4 million tons of CO2 as above-ground biomass.

CarbonDecisions is currently projecting deforestation rates for the region in the without-project scenario to determine the annual emissions that are avoided by the protection of this area.

Preliminary estimates place this figure at 250,000 to 595,000 tons CO2e per year.


View of forest

Photo: Raechel Running


Impacts of mining near Los Amigos . Photo: Frances Buerkens

Photo: John Janovec

Audience at REDD workshop

Photo: Raechel Running


red tapestry