Punta Patiño REDD+, Panama
About the Project
In close collaboration with partners Asociación Nacional para la Conservación de la Naturaleza (ANCON) and Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE), Terra Global launched a first-of-its-kind REDD+ Project in Panama under the umbrella of USAID’s Regional Climate Change Program (RCCP). A major goal of the RCCP is to bring forested lands within Central America under carbon-credit markets such as VCS/CCB. The Project seeks to build on the work of ANCON in protecting the private Punta Patiño Reserve, which consists of roughly 30,000 hectares of rainforest, mangroves, and other forest land. In addition to combatting climate change and protecting the 19 endangered and protected species and huge landscape of critical tropical-coastal marine habitats, the Project is designed to improve livelihoods in local communities. While the Punta Patiño Reserve has been recognized as a critical region of ecological importance its forests are highly threatened by illegal logging and grazing. Despite being owned and operated by ANCON for decades, deforestation pressures continue and grow within the Reserve due to a lack of economic opportunities in the region, population growth, and increased access; the REDD+ Project aims to implement numerous project actions that will develop local economies in sustainable, non-deforesting way, while also strengthening land rights and stakeholder participation.
The Punta Patiño REDD+ Project is administered under the umbrella of the RCCP, with Terra Global and CATIE working closely with in-country partner ANCON, which owns and operates the Punta Patiño Reserve. The project will proceed in two phases: a first (funded) phase to complete quantification and the major technical requirements of VCS/CCB, and a second future phase to complete the project document and bring the project through final VCS/CCB 3rd Party Verification. A major goal of the Punta Patiño REDD+ Project is to develop in-country capacity and knowledge that will allow for scaling up of REDD+ across the nation.
While ANCON has owned and operated the Reserve for decades as a protected biodiversity zone, there is a long history of land settlement in the region, including by Afro-Panamanians and Indigenous peoples. Many local communities existing within the Reserve, including the town of Punta Alegre, have little economic opportunities, and many people survive with income from illegal logging and additional forest clearing for subsistence agriculture and grazing. The REDD+ Project will alleviate deforestation by addressing its root causes: promoting alternative livelihoods, resolving conflicts over land tenure, and creating a formalized stakeholder engagement and grievance process for the region. Ultimately the success of the REDD+ Project depends on local buy-in from communities, and the Project aims to harness local expertise by facilitating collaboration at every step. Project actions will be designed to build greater social equality in the project region, targeting some of the most economically and socially disadvantaged populations to increase economic livelihoods, resolve existing social conflicts, and promote sustainable development in the Reserve.
The Punta Patiño Reserve is a region of critical ecological importance, and contains roughly 65,000 hectares of habitat for 19 rare and endangered species. The site has been recognized by Ramsar as a critical zone for its extensive and intact wetland system of riparian areas, mangroves, coral reefs, beaches, and tidal pools. The region contains numerous rare tropical bird species, reptiles, mammals, and other species of note. Species include harpy eagles, three-toed clothes, bottlenose dolphins, jaguar, humpback whales, laughing gulls, etc.