by Sebastian Africano, International Director
Trees, Water & People (TWP) has supported reforestation activities in Nicaragua since 2001, partnering with Proleña to produce trees commercially for Forest Replacement Associations, made up of farmers who are local to each of three tree nurseries. The nurseries were strategically located in communities outside of Managua that are known for biomass dependent industries – one is ground zero for wood fired ceramics in the country, another houses quicklime producers (calcium oxide from limestone) and the third is in a region with a high level of firewood extraction for sale to the urban masses.
In all three areas where we conduct our work, TWP and Proleña have created a non-profit, independent association of consumers and producers of trees and linked them so that they can produce their fuel locally with fast-growing species, rather than depend on trees from Nicaragua’s dwindling forests. This creates a new income stream for local farmers, and reduces the carbon footprint of the participating industries. It also opens the door for engaging the community to plant fruit trees, hardwood trees, and fast-growing timber trees produced at the same nurseries.
Currently, farmers throughout the Caribbean and Meso-America are experiencing one of the worst droughts in recent memory. Rainy season is three months late, causing massive crop failures and putting pressure on other livelihood activities. While tragic, this is why TWP encourages farmers to diversify their income streams via tree planting and agro-forestry, because once trees are established, they require less irrigation and maintenance, and are more resilient than seasonal crops. As climate change rears its ugly head, we will continue to provide communities with strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change on their livelihoods and communities.
All together now…PLANT MORE TREES!