Training Forest Guards in Huehuetenango, Guatemala

Aug 1, 2014

We need your support for our 2014 Goals!

Farmers in San Mateo Ixtatan, Huehuetenango
Farmers in San Mateo Ixtatan, Huehuetenango

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:

  • Connect 80 more farmers to PINPEP program that can financially support them in producing crops while including trees and sustainable practices on their farms.
  • Train 75 community members as forest guardians to protect and monitor the forest’s resources
  • Strengthen the MFN’s institutional capacity by providing trainings on fundraising and budgeting
  • Facilitate a learning exchange between farmers currently practicing agroforestry and farmers who are interested in taking steps towards agroforestry and sustainable farming
Jan 30, 2014

Guardians of the Forest

Thinning brings forests back to healthy densities
Thinning brings forests back to healthy densities

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.

Aug 15, 2013

Forest Guard explains how program helps forest!

Workers preparing the trees to be reforested
Workers preparing the trees to be reforested

"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:


May 8, 2013

Guardians keep growing

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. 


Jan 22, 2013

Writing the Book on Forest Guards

EcoLogic released the “Manual de Capaciation Guardabosques” the Forest Guard Training Manual for Huehuetenango, Guatemala. The manual outlines the functions of a Forest Guard; from how to properly reforest saplings, to how to handle compost.  It also explains how to trim back trees and how to mitigate the spread of forest fires.

EcoLogic selects and trains forest guards to protect the community forests and promote environmental education within the communities to encourage sustainable use of forest resources.

The forest guards patrol forests to protect them from illegal logging and human-caused forest fires. They also promote natural regeneration of degraded areas and in some case reforest areas with seedlings grown in community nurseries.

Forest guards are trained by EcoLogic to understand the science behind forest management, ensuring best practices are used effectively. Forest guards are also trained to educate their communities about forest management and its benefits, as well as their own role in protecting the forests.

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Project Leader

Alexa Piacenza

Program Associate
Cambridge, MA United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Training Forest Guards in Huehuetenango, Guatemala