Cost-Benefit Analysis for the proposed Río Nieva Protected Area, Peru

Region & Country

CSF completed a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) for the designation of a protected area in northwestern Peru, the Río Nieva Reserved Zone. The addition of this area to the Alto Mayo Protection Forest would increase the total protected area by more than 31,000 hectares. The National Service of Natural Protected Areas of the State (SERNANP) is required by law to conduct a CBA for any proposed protected areas, and this type of analysis can play a critical role in the decision-making process by providing strong economic arguments for conservation.

Our analysis used the benefit transfer method, extrapolating results from existing work to this specific site. We showed that the benefits of protecting this area are three times larger than the opportunity and management costs combined. To calculate the benefits, we considered three ecosystem services: habitat and species protection, recreation, and non-wood forest products. Important ecosystem services and traditional/cultural values were not considered due to a lack of data.   

Protecting Río Nieva will conserve rare ecosystems including the Yungas, a transitional zone between the Andean highlands and eastern forests, and tropical cloud forests. These areas have a high concentration of endemic species, including endangered and vulnerable species like the yellow-tailed woolly monkey, Andean night monkey, and spectacled bear. Conserving this area will also help to establish an important ecological corridor with other protected areas in the region, connecting the Cordillera de Colán National Sanctuary with the highest part of the Mayo River Basin in the Amazonas region.

This analysis was made possible with generous funding from the Andes Amazon Fund

Photo: Spectacled bear
Photo Credit: Linnaea Mallette/