Notes from the Field: Drought Creates More Urgency for Crop Diversification in Nicaragua

by Sebastian Africano, International Director

reforestation Nicaragua

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!




Photo of the Week: Envisioning the Nicaraguan Forestry Research Center

Staff from PROLEÑA, our partner organization in Nicaragua, walk the site of the future National Forestry Biomass Research Center in La Paz Centro.

The National Forestry Biomass Research Center will focus on implementing general procedures and practices for integral forest management. In particular, we will develop techniques that increase productivity in forest and agricultural plantations to permanently guarantee quality of local plant production. Technology and skills transfer will be utilized in the development of modern tubette nurseries, as well as for biomass fuel related topics, such as charcoal briquette manufacture and gasification of agricultural residues as fuel for local industries such as bakeries, lime producers, and ceramicists.