March 2013 has led TWP to a momentus new milestone in Nicaragua and our long-standing reforestation programs in the country. This month will see us finally breaking ground, with partner organization Proleña, on our long-awaited Biomass Energy and Climate Change Center (CENADEC) in La Paz Centro, Nicaragua, one hour southeast of Managua.
CENADEC will be a venue for regional and international students, practitioners and rural communities to learn about efficient and clean renewable energy technologies, as well as adaptation strategies to lessen the impacts of climate change. Our goal is to create a reference center for the region from which technologies and approaches to low-carbon development can be developed, taught and deployed.
The first building we will construct is our ceramics research facility, equipped with proven fuel-efficient kilns to produce specialty pieces for fuel efficient cookstove combustion chambers manufactured in the region. Concurrently, we will add diverse agro-forestry demonstration plots to test income diversification strategies for rural agricultural communities that can no longer depend on regular rainfall, predictable seed and fertilizer prices, or market prices for traditional crops.
The launch of this center will demand much of our focus in Nicaragua over the coming months, and while we will maintain nursery production of over 120,000 trees per year in the country, we will be closing our "10,000 Trees for Nicaragua" campaign to focus on a successful launch. We thank you for supporting this project until now, and we encourage you to follow the development of CENADEC as it transforms climate change education and adaptation in the region over the coming years.
Another season is beginning at Trees, Water & People’s three Nicaraguan tree nurseries. The end of the year is when the nurseries are cleaned and prepared for the next season’s plantings. We’ve bought most of our seed, most of our soil substrate, and staff have started to build the rows in which hundreds of thousands of trees will be planted.
This year TWP will build reforestation programs along three major lines. One is growing trees for our network of Forest Replacement Associations, and their farmers. These farmers grow trees on their land to diversify their income through forest products like fruit, fuel, and in the longer term, lumber.
The next line is growing trees for demonstration plots at the National Center for Biomass Energy and Climate Change Research, in La Paz Centro, Nicaragua. We have plans sketched and are developing agroforestry models appropriate to the local climate, soils and hydrology.
The third and most important, is finding ways to keep our supporters – both individual supporters and corporate partners – appraised of our progress throughout the year. Global Giving is one great channel through which to do this, but our blog and website are other great sources of information that help us stay connected.
Thank you always for your kind support, and never hesitate to get in touch to see how you or people you know can get more involved in supporting this great project.
Happy holidays from the Trees, Water & People staff!
Trees, Water & People (TWP) has supported reforestation activities in Nicaragua since 2001, partnering with Proleña to produce trees commercially for Forest Replacement Associations, made up of farmers local to each of three nurseries. The nurseries were strategically located in communities outside of Managua that are known for biomass dependent industries - one is ground zero for wood fired ceramics in the country, another houses quicklime producers (Calcium Oxide from Limestone) and the third is in a region with a high level of firewood extraction for sale to the urban masses.
In all three areas where we conduct our work, TWP and Proleña have created a non-profit, independent association of consumers and producers of trees and linked them so that they can produce their fuel locally with fast-growing species, rather than depend on trees from Nicaragua's dwindling forests. This creates a new income stream for local farmers, and reduces the carbon footprint of the participating industries. It also opens the door for engaging the community to plant fruit trees, hardwood trees, and fast-growing timber trees produced at the same nurseries.
Currently, farmers throughout the Caribbean and Meso-america are experiencing one of the worst droughts in recent memory. Rainy season is three months late, causing massive crop failures and putting pressure on other livelihood activities. While tragic, this is why TWP encourages farmers to diversify their income streams via tree planting and agro-forestry, because once trees are established, they require less irrigation and maintenance, and are more resilient than seasonal crops. As climate change rears its ugly head, we will continue to provide communities with strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change on their livelihoods and communities.
All together now...PLANT MORE TREES!
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