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[ENG] Plant for Good, beyond tree planting

Create an entrepreneurial spirit on the field for long term impact

As a project developer, our end goal is to become redundant. By developing long-term activities we want to foster the community’s capacity for long-term maintenance (education, training of technical teams, local nurseries, etc.) as well as generate economic incentives (revenue diversification, market linkages). Our objective is to make sure that communities are progressively empowered and are able to take over our mission at landscape level before our intervention and fundings are gone. 

The design of these activities can be part of the initial process or be defined with the communities as the project is scaled up and we are confident about the shared value created by the project. 

To develop these new ventures, a strong entrepreneurial spirit is needed at all stages: from our side as PUR Projet to convince clients to fund these long-term and uncertain activities, together with our local partners (cooperatives, technical teams, etc.) to design and implement these activities, and from smallholder farmers as they require a genuine involvement and faith in the possibility of positive change.

Not implementing these activities means that either the community is not able (financially or technically) to continue restoring ecosystems on its own, or the community will lose interest and cut trees. In both cases, should that happen, we all fail.

Activities designed and implemented with the communities 

REVENUE DIVERSIFICATION

Each model is specific to a location or project. It is based on the crops specificities, labour and input costs, cultural practices and traditions, local knowledge and resources, market needs, etc.

Legal Timber Value Chain In Jubilacion Segura, the team is working on the launch of a legal and sustainable timber value chain based on the FSC ® certification. In Peru, most of the trees are cut in existing natural forests with heavy consequences on the ecosystems: most concessions are located in the Amazon rainforest, at best, it’s done under « sustainable management practices » but still provokes forest degradation. Furthermore, 80% of all timber from Peru is illegal

The group in Jubilacion Segura – which counts 139 certified FSC®  farmers, the largest group of smallholder FSC®  farmers in Latin America – could offer an alternative sustainable timber while providing additional revenues to the farmers if the pilot we are implementing succeeds and is able to scale up. 

Here, PUR Projet is responsible for i) implementing training for the group ii) technical support (database management and data collection, expertise on silvicultural operations, etc.), as well as iii) taking the certification, completing verification audits every year and validation every 5 years for the group. We are also in charge of coordinating with our local partners (cooperatives Acopagro (cocoa), Oro Verde (coffee) and Amazonia Viva Foundation) and farmers to make sure that everyone in the group is compliant with FSC® 10 guiding principles on an on-going basis. Finally, our role is to link producers with an uptake market, working with the administration on the land tenure, structure logistics and ensuring fair price mechanisms to the farmers.

A similar pilot is also starting in Honduras on the Aprosacao project. Here we are designing the forest management plan which is a key step in the creation of a timber value chain. We are working there with experts funded by Euroclima. We also work on a business plan and a vision of the market linkages to identify where and how timber can be sold and transformed.  

In both projects, Peru and Honduras, the challenge is to build a timber value chain with a different model from classic large scale and mono species timber production. Indeed we are working with smallholders and limited small production units which incorporate a broad diversity of tree species Creating sustainable market linkage and organizing a good group dynamique is a key factor of success knowing that illegal cuts remain very common in these regions. 

Beehives In Peru, we implemented beehives with Meliponas (native bees) based on an idea from Oro Verde’s technical team. The objective is to create an additional incentive for farmers to visit their plantations and take care of trees, as well as provide an alternative short-term source of revenue (honey) while supporting tree pollination.

Auto-consumption This complementary lever consists of enabling consumption of agroforestry products and domestic timber use (ex: to build housing). For food security, the objective is to promote an agricultural model which increases food security and reduces the dependency to one single cash crops. For instance in Coffee for Peace, we work to implement on coffee parcels not only trees (for their multiple ecosystem services) but also beans and corn to feed the family and protect coffee crops. In addition, domestic timber use helps reduce the pressure on the primary forest. Our work is to accompany these practices and make sure this is based on sustainable management of the resources (for timber use, by organizing sustainable cutting plans and replanting, or by developing community tree nurseries and reinforce knowledge on tree species).

Additional pilots for revenue diversification activities. In Guatemala (Pintze and Frajines created respectively in 2014 and 2015) and Colombia (Agroforestry Cauca&Narino started in 2014) we are just at the start of the process with our local partners. Designing the long term vision for the project is a crucial part of the empowerment. To do so we organize training with technical teams, co-design workshops and we go back on the parcels to evaluate the potential of trees planted in the past. We also discuss with farmers to understand which activity they would like to develop and what competencies they need (technical training for the pruning for instance). Through this process, we start planting the seed of the long term vision and understand what are the opportunities (which direct products i.e timber, fruits) and which co-productions (seeds, …).

CAPACITY BUILDING

Good Agricultural Practices In tropical regions, we work mostly with smallholder farmers who have limited agricultural knowledge on the management of perennial crops. The latters are often found to be old and less productive. We have thus developed comprehensive, interactive and playful training curriculums that aim to share Good Agricultural Practices with farmers on key commodities (eg: coffee, vanilla), mixing theory and practice, and covering the whole crop cycle (eg: soil conservation, pest and diseases management). 

Awareness programs Education is central for ecosystems protection and restoration. We organize programs to engage community members in discussions about deforestation and opportunities for community forest protection. This can take the form of community events (community theatre shows, climate change game, movie debates, etc), or local promotion (radio, posters, shows, schools, etc).

Reaching close to 20,000 people for our first-ever environmental awareness-raising campaign in Uganda. > To read more. 

COMMUNITY’S HEALTH

Cookstoves & Water Filtration (Africa) In many rural communities, farmers are used to cooking on a three-stone device, that generates a high consumption of firewood, poor indoor air quality (when stoves are located inside houses), and a subsequent significant amount of time required for cooking as well as collecting firewood. We work in partnership with specialized NGOs (eg: GERES, Nitidae) to best design our field intervention, in order to support farmers with improved cookstoves. The latter are built with local materials, adapted to community cooking habits and made with the support of local female leaders. 

Community Waste Management (Asia –  Bali) We believe that the waste management system must recognise the community’s active role in cleaning up their neighbourhoods and to earn an income from solid waste. Participation by local communities might involve separating waste at the household level, handing over separated waste to the waste collector and composting of organic wastes in backyards. Involving other stakeholders such as local authorities (guideline and technical assistance for the waste management service, socialisation in the community), the services include encouraging the separation of waste at source, recycling, waste recovery, composting, waste collection, waste treatment and transfer to the disposal site.

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