Field operations in our Land for Life Program have continued to exceed targets and, in spite of the past two years’ extreme “El Niño” climatic phenomenon, we have achieved all our stated objectives for this first of two 5-year phases.
We now estimate that the total number of trees, planted for all purposes in the Guama Model since 2012, has exceeded 1.5 million. The total number of families recruited to the Model, and in various stages of adoption (from nursery trees to the point of cropping), is now approximately 220.
Many families are now ready to prune and plant their Inga plots for the first time; others have decided to wait until the usual “Primera” sowing time of May/June.
We are seeing families taking crops of basic grains from soils previously degraded by repeated slash-burn episodes and with a history, since first clearance of the forest, stretching back for a century or more. This transformation has been made possible by the combination of the Inga and mineral soil supplements; “La Mezcla Magica” of Rock-P, Dolomitic Lime and K-Mag. This is proving a game-changer in that it also enables a bean crop to be established alongside the tree seedlings and thus eliminates the long “up-front” wait before the family sees a benefit from the system.
Families in the remote sub-catchment of Los Limpios are now ready to prune their Inga alleys for the first time. This has only been made possible by the use of La Mezcla which has exerted a dramatic effect upon the trees’ growth. Los Limpios is an extensively deforested sub-catchment of the Cangrejal, with a similar century-old history of land use since first clearance. Soils there are particularly degraded.
We are entering a most interesting phase of the Program as more families recruited during 2012-2014 start cropping for the first time. We have begun filming interviews with a few of those who first pruned during 2016 and will be continuing as more of them start seeing results. Those views that we have recorded are overwhelmingly positive for the system; and for us as a Foundation. This is a time in which years of persistence and consistency of mission are starting to pay dividends; in which the scepticism of remaining families is being overcome; and in which the tide of forest destruction has finally begun to turn.
We are seeing the beginnings of that time when the system starts to replicate itself. It seems that we are still needed (for soil bags, seed, minerals, etc.); but people previously sceptical of the system are now coming forward asking for us to work with them.