EcoLogic Development Fund

EcoLogic empowers rural and indigenous peoples to restore and protect tropical ecosystems in Central America and Mexico.
Feb 27, 2014

Meet Eric and Manuel

Eric
Eric

In the Gulf of San Miguel, located on the Pacific coast of Panama's remote Darien region, this naturally rich and diverse landscape features mangrove forests, flowing rivers, and abundant wildlife—and is called home by many indigenous cultures.

It is hard to believe that even with this wealth of natural resources and beauty, Darien is one of the poorest regions in Panama.

For Eric and Manuel, two fishermen from the Congo River community in San Miguel, fishing is how they sustain themselves and their families. Their story however, is one of daily struggle. Fish and marine life are in decline because of environmental degradation and contamination from raw sewage. 

Panama may seem far from where you live, but it’s actually just a short distance in the work of sustaining our planet and its people.

The mangroves of the Gulf of San Miguel provide protection from storm surges, high winds, erosion, and marine pollution. These trees also serve as critical habitat to a wide diversity of fish, crab, and shrimp on which local people depend for food and their economy.

Plus, the mangroves of San Miguel are important habitat for many species that we in the US also know and appreciate including birds, and sea turtles that migrate between the two countries.

In the Gulf, EcoLogic is not only working to protect Eric and Manuel’s livelihood, and the livelihoods of many other people and communities in the region, but also to strengthen the connection we have to each other.

With your support EcoLogic is:

Training leaders and members of the consolidated fishing organization to increase the scope and use of sustainable fishing practices and generate more income for its members.

Improve waste management in coastal communities and strengthen local capacity for the conservation of water resources. Identify and restore watersheds and other critical habitat.

Participate in a formal request to the national government to declare a protected area in the Gulf of San Miguel, bringing needed support and protection to the area.

With your help, EcoLogic is working to make connections between water, land, and people, but it is you who make these connections possible and we thank you for your commitment.

Manuel
Manuel
Feb 27, 2014

Water conservation at the next level!

River in Honduras near project sight
River in Honduras near project sight

Imagine not knowing if your faucet will produce water. Imagine if the only way to guarantee that your family has water is to hike six miles each day.

This is not imaginary for rural communities in Honduras; it is reality. The problem in rural Honduras is contamination of vital water sources and deforestation of watersheds that lead to inadequate water supplies.

The solution is you. Through your support, EcoLogic is assisting rural Honduran communities organize around the management of their water sources at the community level. Together, we have helped establish a network of 28 locally elected community water boards that sustain access to safe drinking water for over 11,000 people.

Your gift has allowed EcoLogic to play a role in maintaining delivery systems, organizing conservation efforts, and administering an award-winning water-user payment system. However, there is still much more to be done, and we need your help to expand this work.

Last year, EcoLogic scaled-up efforts in Honduras from 28 locally led water boards to an entire coalition that spans the municipality of Olanchito. We provided technical assistance to determine water-use fees for coalition members, assisted landowners in changing to environmentally responsible land use practices, and provided the training and tools needed to reforest degraded land and help farmers convert to sustainable agriculture practices.

You helping EcoLogic continue to succeed in fighting against the threats of water contamination and scarcity with activities like:

Constructing 3-D microwatershed models and maps. Models and maps visually display a microwatershed and show community participants how water travels from mountainside sources to communities so that they can successfully implement conservation activities.

Educating youth on the importance of conserving water resources. This aids in the development of a generation of environmentally conscious leaders.

Buying native seeds for the reforestation of watersheds and land adjacent to streams and rivers.

Paying for the water testing and analysis of an entire community’s water supply.

Thank you for helping us achieve all of this and more!

Feb 25, 2014

Hectare by hectare you are making a difference!

We love trees at EcoLogic!
We love trees at EcoLogic!
EcoLogic Development Fund would like to thank those of you who have helped with our Community-led Reforestation in Totonicapán Forest project highlighted on the Global Giving platform!  We appreciate all that you have done to revitalize indigenous knowledge and inspire the next generation of local forest guardians. Together, we have been able to accomplish amazing things over these past couple of years.  

In 2013, with your help EcoLogic was able to reforest 82.80 hectares of forest with 92,030 trees!

Since 2003, EcoLogic has worked in Totonicapán, Guatemala with a local partner, The Forest Commission of the 48 Cantones, which is a centuries-old Maya-Quiché governing body responsible for the restoration, management, and conservation of the Communal Forest of Los Altos de San Miguel.  Located in the central highlands of Guatemala, the Communal Forest contains an estimated 21,000 hectares of forest habitat, which faces an annual deforestation rate of around 1%.   

As the largest intact old-growth forest in Guatemala, it houses the biggest remaining stand of the endangered Guatemalan Fir, which is also home of the quetzal (the national bird) and 14 high-priority neo-tropical migratory bird species.  Substantial deforestation also exposes and degrades the forested watersheds that serve as the principal source of drinking water for these local communities.  

The Guatemalan Fir is an evergreen tree native to the Central American highland regions and the southernmost member of the genus Abies.  Ranging from southern Mexico to Honduras and El Salvador, it holds both economic and cultural importance in the region.  This species also is historically popular as a source of timber and as a Christmas tree.  Consequently, widespread extraction through both legal and illegal means, as well as urbanization in the Totonicapán region, have resulted in overexploitation of the forest.  

Other main drivers of deforestation include population growth, slash-and-burn agriculture, and lack of education about conservation among local residents.  Consequently, large fragments of deforested areas and degraded habitats totaling between 4,500 and 5,000 hectares are found throughout the forest.  

In 2014, EcoLogic will continue to partner with the 48 Cantones, working closely with the elected members of its Natural Resource Committee, to mitigate these threats and strengthen the restoration, management, and long-term conservation of the Communal Forest and its habitats.  The local, balanced approach to conserving this forest serves as a model for sustainable forest management strategies needed to minimize deforestation and endangerment of native species in the region.  Additionally, this project demonstrates that local people often are those best-equipped to preserve their natural surroundings as they are the ones who depend on its resources over the long-term. Continuing our efforts and our close partnership with the 48 Cantones, EcoLogic’s reforestation project is focused on the endangered Guatemalan Fir (Abiens Guatemalensis) and the health of the forest’s habitat.  

So far, you have been a part of a committed group of individuals who have helped us raise $137 towards a goal of $5,000.  I know we can do better! With your help, EcoLogic will have the tools we need to help the 48 Cantones protect this forest for generations to come.  You can make this possible – please help us meet our goal and raise an additional $4,863 by the end of the year.  After all, we are all connected and the forests of Totonicapán are part of the lungs of the Earth that sustain us all.

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