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!
In Guatemala, EcoLogic is working with The Northern Border Municipalities Alliance (MFN) which is an alliance of seven municipalities in the departments of Quiché and Huehuetenango that works to encourage the protection and sustainable management of natural resources in the region.
In our August 15, 2013 report, we told you about the Incentives for Small-Scale Agricultural Producers, or PINPEP, Program. Since then, we have helped connect 73 farmers in San Mateo Ixtatán and Santa Cruz Barillas with the federal program, helping them earn a combined $46,466 for their conservation & reforestation efforts.
Together, EcoLogic and MFN are able to provide hands-on support and training through our project’s local technician, Yovany Díaz to clear barriers—ranging from paperwork, to monitoring, to technical agricultural inputs—for farmers interested in enrolling in the program. With your continuing support and this fruitful alliance, we aim to achieve these activities in the remainder of the year:
EcoLogic continues to work with over 75 forest guards in Guatemala to help preserve and restore the natural resources. In the past few months, EcoLogic held 4 workshops to train 75 new forest guards to protect and monitor the forest’s resources. These Guardians of the Forest not only voluntarily work to curb poaching and illegal logging activities but they also help lead the charge in working with the communities’ restoration efforts. In addition, as part of a holistic approach to forest conservation, EcoLogic held several training sessions, informing 65 women on how to successfully manage the natural regeneration of the forest. Here, it is the women who are managing and caring for the forest’s regeneration. With babies in tow, these dedicated women use machetes to thin the “old growth” which allows for the new trees to flourish. Since our last update we have been able to reforest 40 hectares (that is 99 acres!) of denuded land in 3 communities with our partner, the Mancomunidad Frontera del Norte. In addition, the forest guards have implemented fire control plans to help prevent and control forest fires.
"We are reforesting here because there has been a lot of deforestation and there are no longer trees in our area."—Miguel Francisco
Miguel is a forest guard in Xequel, a small town in Huehuetenango, Guatemala.
Recently, Guatemala has enacted a program, known as PINPEP (Program of Incentives for Small-Scale Agricultural Producers) that provides financial incentives to farmers who implement sustainable farming practices, such as agroforestry.
EcoLogic is currently registering farmers, like Miguel, and helping monitor their land in order to ensure that their farming is sustainable and that they are receiving payment. Through enrollment in PINPEP, families in Xequel receive an additional $166 a year when practicing sustainable farming. The town of Xequel is plagued by drought and deforestation. The average family income is less than $1,000 a year. EcoLogic is actively ramping up our support of the PINPEP program in order to conserve and rehabilitate the environment, but also to provide a reliable source of income and food for families.
Your support not only supports the conservation of precious and threatened forests in Huehuetenango, Guatemala, but also provides families with additional income necessary to meet their basic needs.
Read more about the program and hear from Miguel here: http://www.ecologic.org/en/projectsguatemala
In the county of San Mateo Ixtatán, Guatemala, Forest Guardians continue to raise awareness about proper and sustainable management of natural resources. Recent activities have included advisory visits to local and country level nurseries to encourage and promote new, native tree production.
Recently, support was provided to a group of 60 women from 14 communities to assist in the management of 69 hectares of forest. The hectares they monitor have been designated a protected area of natural regeneration by the city of Ixtatan. This important designation was due, in large part, to the commitment of these 60 female Guards to monitor and care for the area.
EcoLogic has noticed a dramatic increase in participation from women since we began a concerted effort to encourage the involvement of women in Forest Guardians trainings over 2 years ago. Thanks to the support of people like you, we will continue to expand the impact of Forest Guardians within at-risk forests of Guatemala.
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