Community Reforestation in Nicaragua

Project type: Land Use and Forestry

Project location: San Juan de Limay and Somoto, Nicaragua

Project status: In operation, credits available

Annual CO₂ reduction: 1,274,911 t (in 2022)

This community-based reforestation initiative is situated upon a critical watershed that feeds into Nicaragua’s most important estuaries, the Estero Real. This estuary is home to one of the biggest extensions of mangroves and migratory birds in the region, and has been recognized by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance. By reforesting this region, the programme plays an important role in regulating the hydrological cycle, providing important water and biodiversity benefits both locally and internationally and improves the quality of life of smallholder farmers.

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.

The trees improve the temperature of the farm and the planet as well. They also give us wood, shade, and better soil, helping stop erosion.

Justina Gutierrez Munos, farmer in Mansico, Nicaragua.

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.

The project contains 3 types of plantations: Mixed species plantations (multi-purposed tree plantations composed of fast growing firewood species and longer-lived hardwood species),coffee agroforestry (shade-grown coffee and fruit trees) and silvopastoral planting (tree planting on areas use for cattle-breeding).


This project contributes to 10 SDGs (as of end 2022):

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The following SDGs are verified by Plan Vivo:

Payments being made to communities across 3,326 farming families where people are living on less than $2/day.

Conducted over 10,000 capacity building workshops annually providing education & training to smallholder farmers.

Working with over 200 women farmers who traditionally face barriers to financing and resources.

Natural wood fallen from forest provide renewable source of energy for cooking.

Additional income is created thorugh selling firewood and high value woodcrafts from the smallholder forests.

5,297 seasonal jobs per year, of which 86% are landless and 9% are female.

Additional revenues created from farmers’ forest products incentivize reforestation practices, ensuring ecosystems are maintained for the long term.

3,334,778 t CO2 being stored.

6 million native trees planted annually, reforesting over 4,739 ha of land, habitat and local wildlife regeneration.

These SDGs have been approved by myclimate:

Regeneration of critical watershed helping protect over 100,000 people from drought and flash-flooding.

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