The Camisea Gas Project is located in a highly sensitive area, within the Amazon rainforest in the basin of the Lower Urubamba river, eastern Peru. It is not only a biodiversity hotspot, but the homeland of ancient native communities of the Machiguenga ethnic group. Another distinctive feature is the isolation in which the area still remains, given the geographical setting (natural barriers), and the inexistence of roads.
The Project consists of a Gas Plant on the shore of the Urubamaba river, four pads in Block 88 and two pads in Block 56 with directional wells, and around 70 km of flowlines. Initially, a 760 km2 3D seismic survey was performed as well.
A development like this, in such a sensitive area, has the likelihood to produce mayor direct and indirect impacts on biological diversity. To be able to measure these impacts over the Project's lifetime, a sound biodiversity baseline study is a must, and should be developed as part of the initial Environmental and Social Impact Assessement (ESIA). In adition measurable indicators reporting to different scales (landscape, communities, populations, species, etc.) should be used to identify trends and changes in an early stage as part of the monitoring program, and when possible point out the potential source of affectation.
The Camisea Long Term Biodiversity Monitoring Program (PMB), started its scoping activities in 2002, and undergone a stakeholder engagement and participative process over more than 2 years. Although biodiversity base line research was conducted (at least in part or the total area evaluated) for the ESIA process, the Program formal activities started in 2005, with the implementation of a work plan enriched by the extensive consultation process. Participation was also promoted within the Native Communities, and currently, more than 60 Machiguenga people work for the Program as co- researchers, along with scientists of various Peruvian and international institutions.
To properly feedback the Camisea Project, and incorporate Biodiversity as a Company Corporate Policy, the Management System was modified so as to integrate procedures, training and management plans. A team of specialist from the Company, the Program and the ISO consultant work together on an ongoing process to produce this result.
This paper reports about the experience achieved, the policy established by the company, the process of designing a Long Term Biodiversity Monitoring Program, and the main results obtain up to date.
From the beginning the foundational idea was that operating a gas field within an area of high socio environmental sensitivity, should not be considered a disadvantage, but rather an opportunity to demonstrate that development and conservation can coexist.
Because of the ecological complexity of the Camisea region and the potential impacts on biodiversity related to the PGC process, a selection of parameters is required; whose measurements in turn allow acquisition of a general overview of the global system under evaluation. The BMP's goal is to detect trends and changes in biodiversity, measure them by means of selected indicators, and when feasible, link the effect to a potential source. When looking at the Lower Urubamba valley, where the Camisea Gas Project takes place, it should be considered that, although it still remains an almost pristine environment, there are other activities that might affect biological diversity in the medium to long term (like logging, and the actions of native communities themselves).