In collaboration with local landowners, AEP is restoring habitat along a biological corridor more than 120 km 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, decreasing water quality
- Decreased groundwater recharge and larger floods
- Drier conditions increase stress on livestock and exacerbate climate change impacts
- Reduced wildlife habitat and decreasing biodiversity
- Reduced access to non-timber forest products, including healthy fruit products
What is AEP doing to address these challenges?
AEP supports reforestation on farms near a 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)
- Form a growing movement of landowners in the corridor area dedicated to reforestation and sustainable land management, determining individual and collective needs and resources (currently)
- Work with landowners to provide technical and, when appropriate, financial assistance to support reforestation (currently)
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
- Greater resilience to climate change impacts on the Azuero peninsula, which is identified as part of the FAO’s Central American dry corridor
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 builds the capacity within local communities which will ultimately be responsible for long-term management of the reforestation effort and will inspire sustainable land use practices.