Ecosystem Restoration in Guatemala

Sean Dixon Sullivan is coordinator at Camp Contour Lines helping rural Guatemalan communities transition their lands away from slash and burn into agroforestry.

iGiveTrees is proud to be among their partner organizations, as they work with smallholders in Guatemala. We have sponsored a total of 7,000 native species trees for their projects restoring 7 hectares at the time of this update in 2022 and expect to reach 10,000 trees by the end of the year.

In 2022-2023 the region we’re focusing upon is a mix of Mayan ethnic groups Tz’utujil, Kaqchikel and K’iche’, diversifying our benefactors beyond the usual Q’echi and Garifuna we work with in the west of the country.  Most families in the region depend on “hortalizas” like carrots, broccoli and cabbage, relying heavily on chemical inputs, so transitioning them to agroforestry systems with fruit trees, primarily avocado, citrus, apple and peach, as well as the hortalizas (grown organically) in between contour rows, greatly improve both income/food security as well as soil conservation, water retention, climate resilience and other environmental benefits. 

This both restores ecological health and generates economic wealth. Slash and burn corn is the cause of devegetation of entire hillsides, which in this high rainfall, steep terrain tropics, also means severe soil erosion.

The use of chemical herbicides and the corn monocultures,further degrades soil fertility and biodiversity. So on the bright side, these communities now understand that corn monocultures are bad for their wallets and for their land.

These projects are 100% owned by local communities and planted on their lands. The produce is sold or consumed by their families. That’s why there’s been such a high survival rates of the trees and high participation among the communities.

They have the land, they have the manpower, and they have the willpower to make this transition. The only thing lacking is the funding to buy the fruit trees and to break free from that that cycle of slash and burn corn.

They’re raising funds to plant 36 sites across three villages: El Cedro, La Pintada and La Guaira Cocoli, totaling 2,700 fruit trees, 11,000 legume trees and 14,000 annuals: mainly pineapple, cassava and plantain, while training 82 local men and women and transitioning 25 acres out of slash and burn into agroforestry which will touch the lives of 2,500 locals.

In the last 18 months, they’ve planted 21 projects sites, the owners of those have selected and trained who, will become the owners of these projects sites funded by this campaign. In 2021 iGiveTrees has sponsored an additional 2,000 native hardwood trees, namely Mahogany (Calophyllum brasiliense) and Santa Maria (Calophyllum brasiliense) to be planted in rural Q’echi communities of La Guaria Coccoli and Plan Grande Tatin, in Livingston, Guatemala.

Inquiring Systems Inc.
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iGiveTrees is a fiscally sponsored project of Inquiring Systems, Inc. (ISI), a U.S. tax-exempt
501 (c) (3) nonprofit corporation since 1978.
Inquiring Systems Inc., 887 Sonoma Ave, Suite 23, Santa Rosa CA 95404