With a length of 7 500 kilometres, the Andes are the world’s longest mountain range. The South American mountain range extends over a large number of countries and supports a unique fauna and flora. However, fires, unsustainable tillage of land for growing crops and deforestation threaten the mountain range and its animal and plant species.
Protecting the Andes is important for biodiversity and for the combating of climate change. The mountain range extends over a large number of countries. Of the countries, Peru and Ecuador agreed on an extensive conservation programme in 2015. By the year 2016, the countries had protected 30 500 hectares of mountain forests and 19 000 hectares above tree line in the Andes. The countries will also restore 7 200 hectares, which is intended to bind 30 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide by the year 2018. The conservation agreement is an important achievement in the Andes conservation project of the Global Environment Facility GEF, which is being implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme UNEP. In addition to the establishment of conservation areas, the project also involves the training of local residents and authorities in sustainable agriculture and forestry and in environmental protection. Finland supports the work of GEF from its development cooperation funds.
Photo: UNEP, graphics: Juho Hiilivirta