The mountain range of Cerro San Gil, bordering Guatemala, Honduras, and Belize, is one of the most beautiful biodiversity treasures on the Caribbean coast. But this region has been severely threatened by the impact of human activities as poor and marginalised Maya Q’eqchi & Ladino communities search for arable land.
The Government of Guatemala is partnering with the Livelihoods Fund and the local NGO Fundaeco to implement the largest community reforestation project ever undertaken in Guatemala. This project will be deployed on a large scale: 5 million trees and plants of various species (citrus, coffee, cardamom, cocoa, mahogany, laurel, cedar, etc.) will be planted over 4,000 hectares.
The social and environmental impact
This project entails much more than just helping the local communities to plant trees. It also seeks to generate new economic activity for the farmers, as they can earn extra income by selling the cash crops that will be planted by this project (rubber, coffee, patchouli, etc.). In addition to reforesting the area, Livelihoods will offer training sessions to the local communities on productive agricultural practices and how to best market and process their products. The goal is to maximize the value created for small producers and to improve their income and living standards. Environmentally, this project will sequester 2 million tonnes of TeqCO2 and thus reduce the impact on climate change.
Validation level of the project
This project was launched in November 2013 in the context of the 10th National Congress of the Guatemala Forest. This tripartite initiative, which supports food security, economic development, and the improvement of living conditions for local communities, was presented to the Guatemalan Minister of Agriculture Elmer Rodriguez, along with other representatives of the local government. The Livelihoods Fund has invested 2.3 million euros in the project to establish nurseries, provide technical and logistical support, train the local communities, and help to monitor the plantations. The Guatemalan government has pledged 1.8 million euros through PINFOR, the national reforestation program fund.