THE PERU (PIURA) PROJECT IN BRIEF
Launch date: 2019
Species planted: Cedar cashew, big-leaved mahogany, Andean alder, Humboldt willow, Scots walnut, silver pine, eucalyptus saligna, romerillo
Objectives: restoring the region's degraded soils and combating desertification through tree planting
Associated partner: Progreso
The context of the project
The region of Piura, located in the north of Peru, is home to dry forests mainly composed of shrubby savannas. The climate is extremely arid and local communities are affected by frequent water shortages. The dry soils on which the pastoral and farming populations live are threatened by desertification. Desertification is accelerated by illegal logging, which amputates the forests by 3,000 hectares each year. In this context, local communities are seeking to reforest their land in order to limit soil erosion and create an additional source of income. Between December 2019 and April 2020, 500,000 trees will be planted by local communities on 450 hectares of land, thanks to funding from Reforest'Action and the technical support of our local partner, Progreso.
Our partner and our actions in the field
A partnership between Reforest'Action and the NGO Progreso
Reforest'Action is partnering with the Peruvian NGO Progreso, which has over 25 years of experience in the development of agroforestry systems and works hand in hand with local district governments and farming communities. Progreso will also monitor the trees and raise awareness among villagers about sustainable agriculture and the importance of preserving the forests.
Local communities involved in the project
Reforest'Action's funding comes in response to a very strong demand from local populations and municipalities, who are seeking to reforest their land in order to protect their water resources and generate a source of income through the sale of tree products. The objective is to create forests in about twenty villages, located in the mountains of the Huarmaca and Pacaipampa districts. The trees will thus be planted in the mountain ranges themselves, or in the cultivated fields of local producers of beans, peas or watermelons. Created in the heart of the Piura River watershed, these forests will have a direct impact on the restoration of the region's ecosystems and on the protection of the sources that water the surrounding villages. More than 1,500 families are affiliated to the project. They will contribute to the planting and maintenance of the trees, and will be sensitized by Progreso to sustainable agriculture and the protection of their forests.
The tree species planted on the project
A wide variety of species is planted on the project:
- Cashew cedar, big-leaf mahogany and Andean alder: these indigenous species will be planted in the mountain ranges to restore their soil and biodiversity; when mature, their wood, prized for its quality, will be sustainably exploited as timber and will, through its sale, generate additional income for farmers, who are currently suffering from low crop yields. In addition, cashew cedar and big-leaf mahogany are on the IUCN Red List of Vulnerable Species.
- Humboldt willow and Scots walnut: these species, also indigenous, have medicinal properties and will enrich the forests created in diversity.
- Silver pine: this species, native to Mexico, is valuable for soil restoration thanks to the thick mattress of needles that forms at its feet and limits its erosion. Planted in agroforestry in farmers' fields, this tree is also useful for breaking the wind and providing shade for the underlying crops.
- Eucalyptus saligna: this fast-growing species will enable villagers to obtain firewood from its branches while the tree continues to grow, thus diverting local people from logging in remaining forests.
- Romerillo: this indigenous shrub has melliferous properties; it will help develop biodiversity, including the presence of pollinating insects, and produce honey from its flowers, which will be consumed directly or sold on local markets.
The benefits of the project
- Protection of water resources: the porosity allowed by the organic activity of the forest soil (roots, microfauna, fungi) will reduce water runoff on the mountain ranges and will absorb rainfall to better feed the groundwater.
- Soil restoration and erosion control: the addition of organic matter to the soil through the fall and decomposition of the branches and leaves of planted trees will increase the nutrients available in the soil, making the land more fertile for the food crops of local communities. In addition, the branches and leaves of the trees will intercept the rain on the mountain slopes, preventing its runoff, which causes soil erosion.
- Creation of habitats for biodiversity: planted forests will, over time, welcome increased wildlife, both local and migratory.
- Timber and fuelwood generation: sustainably managed by our partner Progreso, these forests will enable the production of wood for the personal use of local communities or for the generation of additional income through its sale.
- Raising awareness of local populations on sustainable development and forest protection