Families maintain the trees that have been planted
Analog Forestry, the strategy of conservation and rehabilitation in which this project is based, restores the ecological functions of the forest, mitigates soil erosion, rehabilitates biological corridors, diminishes the loss of biodiversity, guarantees food safety and allows the commercialization of forest products bringing economic benefits to the local population.
The support received from our donors has helped productive family units in Chocó (Colombia) optimize their productive parcels by taking into account food security, commercial opportunities and the conservation of biodiversity. 19 families from Condoto, Tadó and Tutunendo (Chocó, Colombia) are currently implementing analog forestry. The beneficiaries were selected under a participatory process; to choose them several aspects were taken into consideration: how easy it was to access their parcel, their distance from the main operation centers and the population’s interests. Having selected the beneficiaries, an agreement was signed with them establishing their benefits and responsibilities.
In this report, we would like to highlight some of the advances that have been achieved to date:
• Participatory diagnoses took place. These diagnoses are meant to establish farmers’ needs and interests, their priorities when planting in their parcels, their expectations from the projects and the commitments they are willing to assume. This is how the bases for the analog forestry designs of the parcels were established.
• Ecological evaluations and ecological descriptions of native forests were performed in order to know the main characteristics of the forests we were to recreate in the farmers’ parcels.
• 2 Community nurseries were built. This is where species are multiplied so they can be later transplanted into each of the parcels.
• The parcel of each beneficiary was represented in a map and each map details the species present in each parcel.
• Analog forestry designs were produced for each parcel. These designs specify which species need to be planted where. The families’ tradition on growing specific crops for their consumption was included into the design of each parcel; so that it would answer to their needs and to the project’s objective of restoring biodiversity.
• Families receive technical assistance to enhance their practices. Each family was initially trained on the analog forestry technique and afterwards they receive advice from local leaders trained on the use of the technique. The objective is to empower communities so they will lead the processes in each of their parcels. On occasion, it has been necessary to emphasize on the need of planting certain species which have no apparent value to them, but that have an important ecological value (for example they may aid in soil regeneration, or may produce shade which is vital for other species to grow, or may be vital in the natural succession processes).
• Community leaders have used this project and the technical assistance it implies, to promote the use of “Azoteas”, a traditional form of growing plants on elevated containers in Chocó, to grow crops and medicinal plants. This contributes to preserving the community’s culture and to food security for the families.
• In 2007 more than 4000 trees of 21 different species were planted in the families’ parcels and more than 5000 small trees were produced in the tree nurseries (including fruit trees, trees for timber exploitation, medicinal plants, plants for forage, amongst others).
• Four workshops on commercial aspects have been organized (two of them in 2007). In them, representatives from productive family units have learned more about productive chains and commercialization.
• Training sessions for community leaders have also helped them improve their administrative skills (use of different software, reporting needs and accounting include some of the main topics that have been worked on).
We still have a long way to go and our biggest challenges are to implement the project with other productive family units and to consolidate markets for the harvested products. But it is due the support and assist of allies such as Global Giving, that we are encourage to keep contributing to environmental protection and helping communities in the Biogeographic region of Chocó to improve their quality of life.
New trees are grown in the nursuries
Trees are planted in the parcels according to the design