We love trees at EcoLogic!
EcoLogic Development Fund would like to thank those of you who have helped with our Community-led Reforestation in Totonicapán Forest project highlighted on the Global Giving platform! We appreciate all that you have done to revitalize indigenous knowledge and inspire the next generation of local forest guardians. Together, we have been able to accomplish amazing things over these past couple of years.
In 2013, with your help EcoLogic was able to reforest 82.80 hectares of forest with 92,030 trees!
Since 2003, EcoLogic has worked in Totonicapán, Guatemala with a local partner, The Forest Commission of the 48 Cantones, which is a centuries-old Maya-Quiché governing body responsible for the restoration, management, and conservation of the Communal Forest of Los Altos de San Miguel. Located in the central highlands of Guatemala, the Communal Forest contains an estimated 21,000 hectares of forest habitat, which faces an annual deforestation rate of around 1%.
As the largest intact old-growth forest in Guatemala, it houses the biggest remaining stand of the endangered Guatemalan Fir, which is also home of the quetzal (the national bird) and 14 high-priority neo-tropical migratory bird species. Substantial deforestation also exposes and degrades the forested watersheds that serve as the principal source of drinking water for these local communities.
The Guatemalan Fir is an evergreen tree native to the Central American highland regions and the southernmost member of the genus Abies. Ranging from southern Mexico to Honduras and El Salvador, it holds both economic and cultural importance in the region. This species also is historically popular as a source of timber and as a Christmas tree. Consequently, widespread extraction through both legal and illegal means, as well as urbanization in the Totonicapán region, have resulted in overexploitation of the forest.
Other main drivers of deforestation include population growth, slash-and-burn agriculture, and lack of education about conservation among local residents. Consequently, large fragments of deforested areas and degraded habitats totaling between 4,500 and 5,000 hectares are found throughout the forest.
In 2014, EcoLogic will continue to partner with the 48 Cantones, working closely with the elected members of its Natural Resource Committee, to mitigate these threats and strengthen the restoration, management, and long-term conservation of the Communal Forest and its habitats. The local, balanced approach to conserving this forest serves as a model for sustainable forest management strategies needed to minimize deforestation and endangerment of native species in the region. Additionally, this project demonstrates that local people often are those best-equipped to preserve their natural surroundings as they are the ones who depend on its resources over the long-term. Continuing our efforts and our close partnership with the 48 Cantones, EcoLogic’s reforestation project is focused on the endangered Guatemalan Fir (Abiens Guatemalensis) and the health of the forest’s habitat.
So far, you have been a part of a committed group of individuals who have helped us raise $137 towards a goal of $5,000. I know we can do better! With your help, EcoLogic will have the tools we need to help the 48 Cantones protect this forest for generations to come. You can make this possible – please help us meet our goal and raise an additional $4,863 by the end of the year. After all, we are all connected and the forests of Totonicapán are part of the lungs of the Earth that sustain us all.