Noel Kempff Mercado National Park, Bolivia, World Heritage Site

08 March 2010 | Fact sheet

REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) project to reduce climate change in this World Heritage site

The World Heritage site of more than 15,000 square kilometers in the north-eastern corner of the Bolivian department of Santa Cruz de la Sierra is one of the largest and most intact parks in the Amazon.

The park was created in 1979. Originally called "Parque Nacional Huanchaca", it was renamed in honour of the late pioneering biologist and Bolivian conservationist Prof. Noel Kempff Mercado for his research work in the park and his tragic death in the area; murdered by a drug trafficker.

In late 1996, The Nature Conservancy and Fundación Amigos de la Naturaleza (FAN) created the Noel Kempff Mercado Climate Action Project to reduce climate change by protecting 1.5 million acres of tropical forest that were threatened by timber harvesting and deforestation. Together with the Bolivian government and three energy companies, the partners terminated logging rights in four areas just adjacent to a pre-existing national park and incorporated the land into the national park, creating the 3.9 million acre Noel Kempff Mercado National Park. Project partners are also working with local communities to create economic opportunities that provide an alternative to encroaching on other forest lands. 

In 2005, Noel Kempff Mercado was the first forest carbon emissions reduction project to be verified by a third party based on international standards adapted from the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism. This verification demonstrates that protecting forests can achieve verifiable emissions reductions by preventing the release of carbon that is stored in the living biomass of forests.