top of page


I believe that it is very important to reforest...We understand that we have many generations ahead of us and we’d like to leave a better world for those generations to come.
-Reina, a community leader from the mountain village of  Nimapa in Totonicapán, Guatemala. Reina is a delegate for the Natural Resource Council

What We Do

With the project activities we seek:

Community-Led Forest Restoration: Maintaining and protecting 21,000 hectares of coniferous and broadleaf forest, through community protection and conservation actions.

Healthy Homes: Reducing pressure on forests by implementing agroforestry plots and fuel-efficient stoves that address local livelihood needs and promote forest habitat protection.

Environmental Education: Promote forest protection through environmental education, using participatory teaching tools, aimed at local residents and schools.

Capacity Building: Strengthen the governance of the communal forest through community service and the involvement of local actors.


Ethnic Groups:

Population Size:


Economic Activites:

Poverty Rate:

Project Area:


Endangered Species:


Maya K'iche'

K'iche', Spanish

Subsistence farming, logging, and firewood collection from forests

81% of the rural population in the department

21,000 hectares

Central American pine-oak forests; Central American montane forests

Guatemalan fir or Pinabete, Horned and Highland Guan, Pink-headed Warbler, Black-Handed Spider Monkey

Key Facts




The 48 Cantons of Totonicapan is a traditional K’iche governance authority that has represented and served local villages for approximately 800 years. They govern an area now known as the Communal Forest of Los Altos de San Miguel or Kachelaj in K’iche, and it is home to the largest remaining stand of conifer forest in Guatemala, as well as the largest remaining concentration of the endangered Guatemalan fir tree (Abies guatemalensis), known locally as Pinabete. The 48 Cantons co-manages the forest with the Guatemalan National Park Service (CONAP) and the municipal forestry office of Totonicapan. For the K’iche’ Maya of Totonicapan, the forest is not only a vital source of freshwater, it is revered as the spiritual source of life and the foundation of their community.

Forest of the Water Spirit

More than 150,000 people rely on the 21,000-hectare old-growth forest of Totonicapán for their daily natural resource needs. Many of these people are indigenous Maya K’iche’, and for hundreds of years, they have successfully managed their resources based on ancestral knowledge and traditions. However, the pressures of modern life and post-colonial society endanger their traditional governing structures and behaviors, which have successfully sustained and protected this ecosystem for centuries. EcoLogic works with the 48 Cantons, the traditional governing body of Totonicapan, and its citizenry to support three critical interconnected goals: sustainable forest management, watershed protection, and restoration, and the recording, preservation, and appreciation of K’iche’ history, traditions, and governance.

Support this Project

You can contribute directly to the main activities and communities involved in this project through our designated funds.

Get Involved

Your support makes it possible for EcoLogic to continue to work hand in hand with communities to save their forests and water. There are many ways to express that support.

See Other Projects

Learn about our other community-led conservation initiatives in Guatemala, Mexico, and Honduras.

bottom of page