Editor’s note: Despite its protected status, Peru’s Alto Mayo Protected Forest — a swath of Amazonian rainforest twice the size of New York City — has seen some of the country’s highest rates of deforestation. Since 2012, Conservation International has sought to halt the loss of forests by brokering “conservation agreements” with local communities, who agree to stop clearing forests in exchange for technical and financial advice.
To date, nearly 1,000 agreements have been signed, reducing deforestation and helping create a culture of sustainable development.
Here, María Hernández describes her life in the Alto Mayo and how it has changed since she and her sister, Maximila, signed a conservation agreement. Read about other conservation agreements here.