EcoLogic designs all of its project activities with an emphasis on building long-term capacity for local communities to manage forests through proper monitoring, evaluation, reforestation and protection techniques. After a plan for fuel-efficient stoves and reforestation is implemented in a community, we work with our local partners to monitor the reforested and restored areas to make sure great progress is being made! We set short term milestones for each project that lead to overall goals to improve the livelihoods and natural resources in all the areas we work.
Our fuel-efficient stove projects significantly reduce the amount of trees cut in the forest because they use less fuel wood. In tandem, as part of our forest protection solutions, we teach farmers an agroforestry technique called “alley cropping” or planting Inga edulis trees along with their crops. Agroforestry, an alternative to slash-and-burn agriculture, improves the soil and reduces the need for clear-cutting forest land to make new arable farmland. This year with our partner, APROSARSTÚN in Guatemala’s Sarstún region, our goal is to achieve the following short-term and long-term conservation outcomes:
We at EcoLogic are excited that these communities are making so much progress conserving their land and water - and we have you to thank for supporting us!
Since 2003, EcoLogic has successfully worked with its local partner, the 48 Cantones (cantónes are administrative regions) to promote and build local capacity for the restoration, management, and conservation of the 52,000-acre Communal Forest of Los Altos de San Miguel in the central highlands of Totonicapán, Guatemala. The 48 Cantones is a traditional indigenous governance body composed of local mayors that has supported communities and conservation of forest and water resources in the area for more than 800 years.
The overwhelming majority of the 50 communities served in this project suffer from poverty, many from extreme poverty. The strategies co-implemented by EcoLogic and the 48 Cantones aid these communities in protecting the forest by reducing legal and illegal timber extraction. As a result of this collaboration, the deforestation rate in Totonicapán fell slightly below 1% last year, and hundreds of youth are now educated in traditional Maya Quiché conservation practices.
In the past year, EcoLogic and the 48 Cantones have successfully executed a multi-pronged approach.
The forest restoration work, in combination with the reduced human pressure on resources through adoption of sustainable livelihood alternatives, has improved the long-term availability of natural resources such as microwatersheds for drinking water, timber, and soil. Improved management of these resources, including multi-stakeholder collaboration around prevention of illegal logging, helps sustain livelihood practices such as agriculture, construction, and food preparation at the family level. The educational component of our work has ensured that the majority of the residents in the local communities can demonstrate an understanding of environmental issues, the link between human activities and forest health, and resource availability.
Our partnership has received national and international acclaim for its focus on preserving a forest of socio-economic and cultural importance, in part through the preservation and dissemination of traditional Maya K’iche conservation practices. Thank you for your ongoing support for our mission!
EcoLogic Development Fund is proud to announce that the Yale University Chapter of the International Society of Tropical Foresters (ISTF) has selected our local partner in northern Honduras, the Association of Water Councils of Pico Bonito National Park’s Southern Sector (AJAASSPIB in Spanish), as the winner of the 2015 ISTF Innovation Prize! The prize is for “outstanding initiatives in biodiversity conservation at the landscape level” and honors the collaborative effort between AJAASSPIB, EcoLogic, and the Municipality of Olanchito to use AJAASSPIB’s successful model of rural community-led conservation to an urban area.
EcoLogic helped establish AJAASSPIB in 2006 as an association of water councils from rural villages near Honduras’s Pico Bonito National Park. AJAASSPIB’s work primarily focuses on ensuring local access to clean drinking water in a drought-prone area. Their main source of funding is an environmental fund of voluntary payments for water services made by community members who have learned about the connection between declining freshwater supply, deforestation and unsustainable agriculture. This has allowed AJAASSPIB to initiate a project to purify water by chlorination, and as a result, families can now drink clean water directly from their faucets—something that was unthinkable only a few years ago.
The joint project between AJASSPIB, EcoLogic, and the Municipality of Olanchito—a city of 40,000 people—is called the Agreement on Joint Environmental Management of the Municipality of Olanchito (MACO), and focuses on establishing an environmental fund similar to AJAASSPIB’s for the city. The agreement was signed in March 2011 after the Mayor of Olanchito’s office approached AJAASSPIB, seeking to leverage its experience on a larger scale—transferring rural innovation and know-how to an urban area.
EcoLogic’s Executive Director, Barbara Vallarino, says, “The fact that an urban municipality took the initiative in establishing a partnership with AJAASSPIB, a rural organization, testifies to the Association’s unique reputation in the region for honesty, technical rigor, and capacity to resolve conflict and build connections between disparate interests.”
Working closely with AJAASSPIB and EcoLogic under the MACO agreement, Olanchito is now establishing an environmental fund collected from residents to support locally-driven conservation of the 16,000-acre watershed that supplies water to the city’s inhabitants. As the MACO agreement demonstrates, AJAASSPIB’s community-powered, grassroots approach to conservation is a model for communities across Honduras and beyond!