EcoLogic Development Fund

EcoLogic empowers rural and indigenous peoples to restore and protect tropical ecosystems in Central America and Mexico.
Dec 1, 2016

The Keys to Living with Climate Change

The bases of mitigating climate change are: to reduce or eliminate practices that generate greenhouse gases (GHGs) and increase the global temperature of the planet, and to increase reserves of carbon storage so that they are not released into the atmosphere.

In the meantime, adaptation consists of all the actions that individual, group and business must take to adjust to the new conditions of extreme cold or heat, prolonged droughts, intense frost or hail storms, etc. The goal is to no longer see these extreme weather patterns as threats that can cause harm, but to learn to manage them and live with them.

"Both mitigation and adaptation must go hand in hand," said Jonathan Schwars of the United States Agency for International Development's Low Emission Development Project at the Second National Congress on Climate Change held in the city of Quetzaltenango, another department of the Western Altiplano of Guatemala and also being affected by climate change.

In order to know where to mitigate and how to adapt, the threats must first be defined, said engineer Rolando Gómez of FUNDAECO. It’s also imperative that municipal mayors prioritize the conservation of green areas in the urban center, restoration of fragmented areas, and harvesting of rainwater. He added, "The more natural resources are taken into account in mitigation and adaptation strategies, the more environmental services will be provided to the population."

According to Marta Pérez de Madrid, Climate Change Officer of the International Union for Climate Change (IUCN) for Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean, "municipalities have to be involved from the outset in the processes of adaptation to climate change", because adapting is "making decisions and fostering the solutions that nature gives us and raise the profile of ecosystems as a response to climate change," she explained at a virtual seminar for journalists on Ecosystem-Based Adaptation.

In the 48 cantons of Totonicapán, Guatemala, local leaders are actively involved in the implementation of projects that benefit their communities, including mitigation and adaptation to climate change. They are well organized in five different boards of directors and for one year they carry out community work in favor of their municipality and without payment.

Many people in the rural areas of the 48 cantons of Totonicapán live in poverty and use firewood as the main source of energy in their homes. One of the ways to contribute to the preservation of the natural resources of the community, to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and to help improve their living conditions is by using a fuel-efficient stove that reduces consumption of firewood and helps to prevent respiratory diseases, because the kitchens are not filled with smoke.

Together, Ecologic and the Board of Natural Resources of the Ancestral Community Organization of the 48 cantons select the families that receive a fuel-efficient stove.

In order for the beneficiary families to value and take care of their fuel-efficient stove, they must make a contribution consisting of 2 sacks of sand, 20 blocks and 2 sacks of mud, as well as pay for the labor of the assistant mason who builds the stove.

They also commit to participate in reforestation days, environmental awareness talks, and “healthy home” workshops. In a “healthy home” workshop, through demonstrative and experiential methodologies, they are taught from the correct handling of food, to the use, hygiene and maintenance of their new conserving stove.

EcoLogic provides the cement, the bricks, the tubes for the chimney, and the iron where the food will be heated. EcoLogic technicians make regular visits to the homes to evaluate the use and care of each stove. This is they verify that the model constructed in each home is the most appropriate and accepted by the people in the communities.

Follow this link to read Lucy's full story and see a video of Dora, from the canton of Chiyax, who thanks to the help and solidarity of her neighbors managed to obtain a house and a fuel-efficient stove: 

Links:

Oct 26, 2016

The Southern Pine Beetle Plague

image01

Local partners and community members constructing firebreaks in Northern Honduras

EcoLogic works diligently with our local partner organizations to build resilience in rural communities through our solutions that protect both people and the planet. Yet, in addition to our ongoing work, there are situations that emerge  that demand urgent and immediate action. A current example of this is happening right now in Honduras, in what experts are rightfully calling this an ecological catastrophe. An abnormally severe outbreak of the southern pine beetle—Dendroctonus frontalis—is ravaging pine forests across the country. While this beetle has long been present in Honduran forests, climate change and its effects are causing more frequent and severe outbreaks.

The pine beetle attacks pine forests, particularly those that have been weakened by lightning or fires, or where there is high stand density. Once 20-30 pines are attacked, southern pine beetle infestations can spread rapidly if no control is applied. Under conditions of outbreak, the bark beetles can then kill healthy pines, too. The bark beetle develops within the bark of infested pines and new adults then fly in search of a new host.

In order to control the spread of the pine beetle plague, EcoLogic and its partners will continue implementing the strategy promoted by the Honduran Forest Conservation Institute (Instituto de Conservación Forestal, ICF), which advises to cut down infected trees as well as healthy trees within a 50 meter radius of infected areas (a distance which prevents adults from reaching new healthy pines). Given this necessary clearing of trees, reforestation of healthy trees and ongoing management are key components of the response. Firebreaks will continue to be built, along with controlled burning and removal of combustible matter, and the forests will be monitored by rangers.

The Honduran government has declared the situation a national emergency, given the beetle’s dramatic destruction of primary forest and the associated risk of wildfire. Critical forest habitats for Honduras’ notable biodiversity are disappearing at alarming rates. According to recent press reports, the pine beetle plague has destroyed about 1 million acres of pine forest, equivalent to one quarter of Honduras’ primary forest cover. Read that again, one quarter of Honduras’ primary forest cover. The situation demands immediate attention to both halt the spread of the plague and restore degraded areas to ensure the perseverance of wildlife, natural resources and rural communities.

The Honduran government launched a national response to the outbreak. Honduran military units were deployed to help combat the plague. While some of EcoLogic’s partner communities were reached by the national support provided, their work was short-term and communities were mostly left on their own to continue controlling the plague and manage its devastating impacts. Our local partners have worked tirelessly to combat the outbreak, but are in urgent need of additional resources in order to bring it to a halt and restore affected areas.

Local communities are keenly aware of the pine beetle plague and are eager to address it to save their forests, however, they are still without the resources they need. Without adequate equipment and personnel, the infestation will continue to spread and advance deforestation throughout the region.

EcoLogic field technicians and local partners are knowledgeable and experienced in effective reforestation methods, and are prepared to incorporate strategies recommended by the Honduran Forest Institute (ICF by its Spanish acronym) to combat the outbreak and protect reforested areas from infection and forest fires. We have identified critical areas within our project sites that require immediate reforestation, particularly in key watersheds and surrounding buffer zones. To protect restored areas from pine beetle infestation, EcoLogic and its partners plan to reforest with a variety of tree species, including Simarouba (bitterwood),Leucaena leucocephala (white popinac), Acacia amarilla (lebbeck), Cassia fistula (golden rain tree),Inga edulis (ice cream bean) and Albizia saman (monkey pod).

image00

Measuring the width of firebreaks to ensure the containment of forest fires

However, EcoLogic and our partners—communities, local leaders, and civil society organizations that are forest-dependent, need more help to ensure our efforts are successful. This plan is time and labor intensive, and will require dedicated field staff to control and prevent outbreaks. The process of reforestation we will follow is key to addressing the impacts of the pine beetle plague, particularly for the restoration of critical habitats for forest-dwelling species. With your continued support we can address some important immediate needs.

We rarely do this in our eNews stories, as we want these articles to be informative and explanatory, but given the circumstances, we invite you to join us in taking action.

You can make a contribution that will help us comat this plague and assist this effort through our donation page. You can also share this article with friends, family, colleagues, and anyone in your network that may care so that they can take action, too!

Building partnerships to fortify the efforts of local people is our approach, and rural people in Honduras desperately need all the partners and commitments possible to help combat this devastating ecological outbreak.

You can help save Honduras’ forests!

Oct 7, 2016

The Evolving Role of PES

Traditional payment for ecosystem services (PES) models are built around the concept of a monetary value assigned to a specific service, good, or product provided by the natural environment to the benefit of people—for example, water resources, carbon stored in biomass, and forest products. Through a PES scheme, communities or individuals receive monetary payment in exchange for conserving the ecosystems providing the services. It is a win-win with benefits for both the people who benefit from the service (e.g. the people downstream who are supplied with drinking water) and those who ensure provision of the service (e.g. the rural people who conserve the natural water source).  PES is centered around a monetary value agreed upon by both sides. As such, it is a popular model receiving global attention among world leaders, policy makers, conservation organizations, and communities.

While the literature points to several successful examples of these traditional PES models, there is emerging research documenting cases of communities contesting or radically altering conventional PES or PES-like schemes. Community leaders in countries such as Mexico and Japan have expressed a range of concerns with PES, from exclusion of traditional knowledge to the commodification of a core source of spiritual and cultural identity: nature. Currently, greater discussions are emerging among community leaders, practitioners, and academics regarding “alternative conceptualizations” of PES. Additional documentation of communities who have contested or altered PES to meet their needs can help provide tools and insights required to ensure conservation programs reflect values, beliefs, and dignity of rural communities considering such programs.

During my time as an EcoLogic intern, I have had the dual role of working with EcoLogic staff Dave Kramer and Andrea Savage to adapt my research to make it an important contribution to EcoLogic’s projects in the area, while producing my own research in coordination with Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment for my Masters of Environmental Management degree. With the guidance of EcoLogic and my thesis adviser Liz Shapiro, I will be researching and assessing specific case studies of how communities have adapted PES-like programs to reflect their culture and needs. One of the principal variations is on how the value for the ecosystem service is represented, where cultural norms and beliefs permit value to be expressed in terms other than as monetary.

My research goal is to determine what cultural norms and beliefs are associated to nature and how they are valued by local people. This will help EcoLogic and other conservation practitioners to further understand how communities can participate in conservation of ecosystem services and resource exchange in ways that are aligned with and support their traditions and belief systems. 

annie

Annie Spaulding (left background) learning about sustainable farming in Guatemala

I will be sure to circle back to EcoLogic eNews readers with the results!

 
   

donate now:

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $10
    give
  • $20
    give
  • $50
    give
  • $167
    give
  • $250
    give
  • $10
    each month
    give
  • $20
    each month
    give
  • $50
    each month
    give
  • $167
    each month
    give
  • $250
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of EcoLogic Development Fund

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about EcoLogic Development Fund on GreatNonProfits.org.
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.