In a nutshell
The Villa Rica Model Forest (the third of its kind in Peru) was created as a management and governance tool at the territorial level. Because it articulates government and non-governmental organizations with local, regional and national government, it is both and opportunity and a window to exchange network experiences, capacity building possibilities and potential national (framed within a forest management context under a territorial governance approach) and international (framed within the network for territorial sustainable development) projects.
The Villa Rica Model Forest, located within the Oxapampa Asháninca Yánesha Biosphere Reserve, is unique in terms of its local government administration and agroforestry production systems. It seeks to achieve economic, social and environmental wellbeing for the population living in its territory.
Forest resources in the Villa Rica Model Forest can be classified into natural protected areas (44.3% of the territory), agroforestry and silvopastoral systems (29.5%), natural regeneration areas (16.7%), and infrastructure (9.5%). Close to 11,000 ha of coffee in association with different native and exotic forest tree species are predominant in coffee farms within the Model Forest. For the last 40 years, three generations have been repeating and improving on these better practices.
When the first Austro-German settlers came to these lands, they began growing coffee in association with trees. The Andean inhabitants increased its yield and it became the most important product for the local and household economy in the area.
Ninety-eight percent of Villa Rica coffee is cultivated under agroforestry schemes, where 40% grows under the shadow of native forest species and 60% under exotic and rapid growth ones. However, because coffee production is not very profitable at the moment, timber harvesting has become key to the region’s economy; 75% of timber production in the area comes from these coffee plantations.
Here, indigenous and Western cultures coexist. Native communities make a noteworthy contribution, for they are a productive segment of coffee with designation of origin offered to select consumers.
The governance structure is headed by an Executive Board, whose presidency is assumed by the Mayor of the Villa Rica district municipality. The Technical Secretariat is located under the Economic and Environmental Development Managerial Office – Unit of Natural Resources, Environmental Management and Oversight. It is in direct coordination with the Villa Rica Model Forest Environmental Commission, constituted by government and non-governmental institutions.
Administration is carried out through a public call, in order to organize actions and activities, as well as to build up stakeholder capacities.
- To promote landscape-level management of the Villa Rica Model Forest;
- To produce under agroforestry systems to conserve biodiversity and human-plant relationships;
- To promote sustainable development in a space inhabited by indigenous peoples, Austro-German immigrants and Andean settlers, combining sustainable tourism with economic, social and environmental development.
Key actions in place to reach these goals:
- The project “Recuperating and Protecting the Degraded Ecosystem in the Villa Rica district Ñagazú area Sector I – Oxapampa – Pasco”, where 151 ha are being reforested with native species to recover the volume of water flow lost from the La Sal river source.
- The project “Capacity Building in Agroforestry System Management for Producers of the Main Crops in the micro watersheds of Cacazú, Puente Paucartambo, Eneñas, Villa Rica, District of Villa Rica – Oxapampa – Pasco”, strengthening agroforestry systems in production activities.
- The project “Creating management services for five non-timber forest products in Anexos de Villa Oyón, Alto Eneñas and San José, Villa Rica district, Oxapampa Pasco province”, which includes an institutional strengthening component for the Villa Rica Model Forest.
- The residual water treatment project “PTAR”, which restored water treated with activated sludge in the Entáz river.
- Promoting biodiversity conservation among production and conservation areas of the biological corridor.
- Restored flora to help preserve fauna.
- Five thousand hectares of agroforestry installed with predominant species.
- Recuperated flora, fauna, and interculturality of the indigenous Yanesha people, framed by Model Forest Villa Rica’s sustainable development and plural culture (Yanesha, Austro-German, and Andean).