Indigenous Peoples for Thriving Ecosystems in Northern Guatemala

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Yovany with Chuj womenThe departments of Huehuetenango and Quiche are situated in the western highlands of Guatemala and cover nearly all of the Cuchumatanes mountain range as well as the lowland plains. The 13,000 hectares of forest are rich in biodiversity and include four significant watershed areas that provide water to over 200,000 people. Unfortunately, illegal logging, slash and burn agriculture, poaching, poorly managed construction and development (in particular of a major highway), and other activities threaten these forests and the biological and human life that depend on them. To address these issues, EcoLogic works with local partner the Northern Border Municipalities Alliance (MFN)—a coalition of municipalities we helped establish—to collaborate with communities to manage and restore degraded areas, demarcate and protect water sources, train forest guardians, construct fuel-efficient stoves, and promote the adoption of agroforestry practices, among other activities.

Local Partner:  The Northern Border Municipalities Alliance (MFN)
Year Project Began: 2005

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Antonio and Salvador TocRecent project highlights:

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Forestry_compassCountry: Guatemala

Year Project Began: 2005

Partners: The Northern Border Municipalities Alliance (MFN)

Size of Project Site: 13,000 hectares

Population of Project Site: 371,286

Languages Spoken: Chuj, K’ekchi, Ixil, Jakalteko, Mam, Spanish

Peoples: Chuj, K’iche, K’ekchi, mestizo, Spanish descent

Sources of Income: Farming, timber, resource extraction

Unique Environmental and Geographic Features: Huehuetenango—a water recharge area for the Pojom, Nenton, Ixcan, Xacbal and Salinas rivers—is also home to the highest density of unique native plant species in Guatemala.

Ecosystems: Tropical wet forest, tropical dry forest, tropical rainforest

Endangered Species: At least 65

Solutions: Agroforestrycommunity collaborationenvironmental educationforest guardiansfuel-efficient stovesgreenhouses and nurseriesreforestationwatershed management

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Guatemalan Bromeliad Salamander

Guatemalan Bromeliad Salamander

Select species at this project site:

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Maqueta_HuehueSelect progress made by EcoLogic and local partners in 2012-2013:

  • Established 33 hectares of agroforestry parcels.
  • Reforested 70 hectares.
  • Ran seven environmental education workshops at secondary schools.
  • Built 66 fuel-efficient stoves.
  • Trained 16 community leaders to become forest guardians who are now actively promoting sustainable environmental practices.
  • Created four new greenhouses.
  • Improved and supported an additional six greenhouses, including installing irrigation systems, seeding several thousand native trees, and applying organic herbicides and fungicides.
  • Trained 100 families in beekeeping practices and provided hives.