Mountains are a source of livelihood, sustenance, and inspiration. However, they have important ecosystems that are hugely susceptible to human impact. But we believe there are ways to explore them that are mutually beneficial. Your journey ensures mountains flourish and remain the beautiful places that inspire us today.
Without mountains, there wouldn’t be the incredible adventures, beautiful cultures, and diverse environments that we know and love. Tourism development is built on a location’s natural assets, without which no product or service, and therefore no impacts, can exist. “Leaving no trace” and reducing our environmental footprint helps to safeguard these fragile ecosystems, but we would like to go further by helping mountain ecosystems flourish.
Leading with Reforestation: Introducing Montikuna
In 2015, Project Cordillera established a partnership with Montikuna, a non-profit initiative working to reforest native trees in the Cordillera Blanca of Peru. Throughout the Andes, many once forested areas have now been deforested for agriculture and grazing, while non-native species that are detrimental to the soil quality, PH levels and native wildlife are grown for short-term economic benefits. Communities see the negative effect invasive species are having, with many wishing for the return of the protection offered by the indigenous varieties of trees.
Founded by former Peace Corp volunteer and staff member at the Mountain Institute (TMI) Nathan Hecht in 2014, Montikuna works with local farmers by incentivising them to plant native trees as alternatives to non-native species as border protection for their plots of land. The incentive is 3-fold: farmers get S/0.5 for each tree that they plant, their land becomes more productive (as it is protected from run-off, soil erosion, and PH imbalance), and native wildlife is encouraged to return to the area, which results in more tourists and a healthier biome.
Montikuna raises the funds to pay for the project by selling stickers to tourists in Huaraz and through the support of organisations like Project Cordillera. Nathan sources the trees from government nurseries and educates local communities about the benefits of planting them, liaises with community members to ensure their continued health, and then sits back and watches the trees flourish! Through Montikuna, we hope to reduce the carbon impact of our travel and contribute positively to local society and economies by funding the planting of 2 trees for every day that a customer spends in Peru through Project Cordillera.
Our goal is to continue to act as a catalyst for greater synergy between human activities in the mountains and nature itself. We want your journey to ensure mountains flourish and remain the beautiful places that inspire us today.