In this community-based reforestation initiative in the Platanares watershed in the municipality of San Juan de Limay, Nicaragua, smallholder farming families collaborate to reforest underutilised portions of their land. Thanks to better land-use management and more sustainable use of forest resources the forest cover of the nearby watershed will be increased and the quality of life of Limay residents will be improved.
These aims will be achieved through the establishment of multiple small-scale native species forest plantations on smallholder land. Participants entering the project own underutilised land and must demonstrate that participating will not conflict with their subsistence activities, notably cattle ranching and agriculture. The project area covers 86 square kilometres and will support rural communities desperately in need of support and incentives to take control of their resources. Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with a GDP per capita income of $1,079 per year.
296 smallholder families have reforested an area of 1,170 ha, this equals 1,638 soccer fields.
Land use planning around watersheds is a key supporting activity; the project area includes one of the most critical watersheds in the municipality of San Juan de Limay, which suffers from seasonal water shortages and flooding. Increased forest cover will retain water through the dry season and minimise flooding in the rainy season. The project will also distribute fuel-efficient fireplaces equipped with chimneys that reduce smoke in the household, generating health benefits, particularly for women.
We hope to create solidarity among communities, provide opportunities for families to earn extra income, act as a role model for others and build environmental awareness among subsistence farmers.
Elsa Gonzales, Head Community Technician and Office manager Taking Roots Nicaragua
The project addresses the causes of deforestation, ensures direct, ongoing community involvement and technical training, and provides financial benefits for participants throughout the project. This occurs through payments for ecosystem services (PES) and income from timber and sustainable forest products. As a result, this multi-faceted approach will reduce forest degradation by easing pressure on surrounding natural forest while at the same time sequester quantifiable volumes of CO2 from the atmosphere and improve the environmental and socio-economic conditions of families located in the community of San Juan de Limay.
IMPACT AND BENEFITS ACHIEVED SO FAR: