EcoLogic Development Fund

EcoLogic empowers rural and indigenous peoples to restore and protect tropical ecosystems in Central America and Mexico.
Jul 7, 2015

40,000 More People Getting Access to Clean Water

Thanks to your support, thousands of people in northern Honduras now have access to safe drinking water managed by the local community. Collecting a small monthly fee, our local partner, the Association of Water Councils of Pico Bonito National Park’s Southern Sector  (AJAASSPIB in Spanish), provides comprehensive watershed management and environmental education services to a population of about 11,000. AJAASSPIB is made up of 28 water councils and their inclusive payment-for-ecosystem services model has been an inspiration. The municipality of Olanchito has launched a program to duplicate and expand upon this model, with the goal of providing clean water for 40,000 of the city’s inhabitants.  

 

Collective ownership has been a key part of conservation and development, as our goal is for local communities to provide as much direction as possible. Before devastating Hurricane Mitch struck in 1998, water boards did very little, and after the hurricane, water infrastructure had to be reconstructed from scratch. More than 14,000 people were killed, and the landscape was torn apart.  Yet in a striking reversal of the “tragedy of the commons,” people came together, turning the area’s heavily deforested slopes into a collectively owned property that they could restore. The approach we are helping Olanchito develop is working to achieve the same feat on a much larger scale.

 

Access to clean water will make a big difference for the residents of Olanchito, and we are excited to see our work in Honduras expanding with rural communities at the helm.  The change we’re seeing is both environmental and social. AJAASSPIB’s model has become an inspiration for a larger municipality, and this unique rural-to-urban “idea innovation flow” has been extremely empowering for our rural partners.

 

AJAASSPIB and EcoLogic’s partnership also has been honored with several international awards, including the2015 Yale International Society of Tropical Foresters Innovation Prize for “outstanding initiatives in biodiversity conservation at the landscape level,” the 2014 Energy Globe National Award Honduras, the 2012 United Nations Equator Prize, and second place for the 2011 Swiss Re International ReSource Award. At EcoLogic, we are grateful that this award offers recognition for our local Honduran partners, and allows them to share their experiences to inspire others, not only in their home communities, but around the world.

 

Please consider donating to protect and revitalize the water sources thousands of Hondurans depend on. We greatly appreciate your support!

Apr 3, 2015

Fuel-Efficient Stoves & Agroforestry

Inga Edulis crop
Inga Edulis crop

EcoLogic designs all of its project activities with an emphasis on building long-term capacity for local communities to manage forests through proper monitoring, evaluation, reforestation and protection techniques.  After a plan for fuel-efficient stoves and reforestation is implemented in a community, we work with our local partners to monitor the reforested and restored areas to make sure great progress is being made! We set short term milestones for each project that lead to overall goals to improve the livelihoods and natural resources in all the areas we work. 

Our fuel-efficient stove projects significantly reduce the amount of trees cut in the forest because they use less fuel wood. In tandem, as part of our forest protection solutions, we teach farmers an agroforestry technique called “alley cropping” or planting Inga edulis trees along with their crops.  Agroforestry, an alternative to slash-and-burn agriculture, improves the soil and reduces the need for clear-cutting forest land to make new arable farmland.  This year with our partner, APROSARSTÚN in Guatemala’s Sarstún region, our goal is to achieve the following short-term and long-term conservation outcomes:

Short-term:

  • By June 30, we will have helped three new communities create a plan for reforestation, leading to the reforestation of 10 hectares of native tree species in water recharge zones of microwatersheds in each community.
  • By June 30, these three communities will be aware of the origins of their water in microwatersheds and the limitations of the microwatersheds. They will also have defined a clean water management plan with their community leaders.
  • By August 30, thirty families (180 people) in two communities will have reduced their use of fuelwood by 60% through the adoption of fuel-efficient wood-burning stoves.
  • By August 30, five communities will have established nurseries growing native tree saplings.
  • In addition, these farmers will have received training in agroforestry using the alley-cropping method with guama (Inga edulis).
  • By December 30, a total of 25 new acres of agroforestry plots will be established among the 150 farmers now trained in the alley-cropping technique.

Long-term:

  • By 2017, at least 320 families, or 90% of families within the Sarstún River Multiple Use Area will be using fuel-efficient wood-burning stoves
  • By 2018, the number of farmers in Sarstún communities who have replaced slash-and-burn agriculture with agroforestry practices will have increased by 50%.
  • By 2018, all 13 communities that collaborate with EcoLogic and APROSARSTUN have established microwatershed management plans and a system for maintaining clean drinking water for years to come.

We at EcoLogic are excited that these communities are making so much progress conserving their land and water - and we have you to thank for supporting us!

Inga Edulis Crop
Inga Edulis Crop
Mar 24, 2015

Los 48 Cantones: 2014 Achievements!

Don Agustin, Community Leader in Totonicapan
Don Agustin, Community Leader in Totonicapan

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.

2014 Accomplishments

In the past year, EcoLogic and the 48 Cantones have successfully executed a multi-pronged approach.

  1. A total of 132,000 native trees, including the Guatemalan Fir, White Pine, Red Pine, Cyprus, Oak, and Andean Alder, have been reforested in an area of approximately 286 acres of previously degraded forest.  Participants in reforestation activities included 2,950 participants from 29 communities, including 200 youth.  Delegates and directors of the Natural Resources Committee of the 48 Cantones perform forest monitoring once a month to supervise reforestation efforts, to assure that sapling trees are still intact, and to prevent illegal logging.  
  2. A total of eight workshops were facilitated for 200 village water communities on the topics of forest restoration, watershed management, and habitat protection.  Additional workshops have been facilitated for 505 elementary school youth and 150 secondary school youth from 10 local schools. The majority of these youth will participate in a series of reforestation days when the next batch of native tree saplings growing in area greenhouses, also supported by EcoLogic, are ready for reforestation. Educating youth about conservation ensures that future generations lead in taking action to conserve and protect the forest against further degradation and damage.
  3. Furthermore, 64% of residents depend on firewood as a source of energy.  The stove models we have piloted and introduced in Totonicapán now decrease firewood consumption by as much as 60%.  This translates into a typical supply of 75 sticks of fuel wood lasting for nearly a week, as opposed to only 2-3 days when using a traditional open-pit fire.

Long-term Impact

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!

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