In collaboration with local landowners, AEP is reforesting a biological corridor more than 120km in length, with an area of nearly 25,000 hectares, made up of nearly 400 privately owned properties. The project aims to gradually restore the critically important tropical dry forest ecosystem and support sustainable land use practices in the Azuero.
What are the negative consequences of deforestation on the Azuero Peninsula?
- Increased soil erosion and nutrient runoff
- Decreased groundwater recharge and larger floods
- Dryer conditions increase stress on the livestock
- Reduced wildlife habitat and decreasing biodiversity
What is AEP doing to address these challenges?
Supporting the reforestation of biological corridor that will span the Peninsula and connect Cerro Hoya National Park with the Achotines Forest through the following strategy:
- Determine the ideal location of the corridor using GIS (Completed, 2013)
- Help form an association of landowners in the corridor area to determine individual and collective needs and resources (Pending, 2014)
- Work with landowners to provide technical and, when appropriate, financial assistance to support reforestation (Initiated, 2014)
What are the benefits of reforestation?
- Lower soil erosion and nutrient runoff, resulting in more fertile soil and healthier livestock
- Higher groundwater recharge, helping to mitigate droughts
- Lower heat stress on livestock due to shade from trees
- Greater biodiversity, resulting in improved pollination, dissemination and other ecosystem services
- Economic diversification and food production, resulting in improved livelihoods
- Carbon capture helping to mitigate climate change
How is the AEP approach innovative?
AEP works directly with local landowners, supporting collaboration and collective action, rather than purchasing or renting the land for reforestation. This builds ownership in the project and transfers skills to the local community which will ultimately be responsible for long-term management of the reforestation effort and will benefit from more sustainable land use practices.