Project Region: Olanchito (Uchapa-Pimienta watershed area)
Project Page: Communities Organizing for Watersheds
This past March in Honduras, EcoLogic staff along with our local partner the Association of Water Committees of the Southern Sector of Pico Bonito National Park (AJAASSPIB), completed 4 community-led forest monitoring visits to monitor illegal logging activity, gather data on insect outbreaks, and prevent fires in the standing forests critical to the Uchapa-Pimienta watershed. Volunteers and field staff conducted visits in the communities of Agalteca, La Gloria, California, Suyatal. In total, these visits included 10 men and 2 women from local communities and brought these local monitoring groups together with representatives from the Honduran Institute of Forestry Conservation (ICF).
How does this exemplify our core principle?
As backcountry firefighters do not exist in this remote area of the Honduran countryside, community members must actively monitor their forested lands. They work to prevent and control forest fires, particularly due to drought and the practice of slash and burn agriculture. Also, as policing on illegal timber extraction is difficult due this densely-forested area’s size, it is up to community members to identify illegal activities to know where reforestation and community education, outreach, or other specifically targeted approaches may be critically necessary.
EcoLogic field staff train local community members to become “forest guardians” by offering community workshops and trainings that help local people acquire the technical knowledge and skills to identify “at-risk” areas in the forest and participate in forest fire prevention, restoration, and community education activities. This positions local community members as leaders, local stewards, and ambassadors. They then advocate for and promote sustainable practices and the protection and restoration of the tropical systems on which their communities rely for clean water and forest resources – and upon which we all ultimately depend.