An overview of progress in 2015!
Field operations in our Land for Life Program have continued to exceed targets and, in spite of this year’s extreme “El Niño” climatic phenomenon, are well on-track to achieve all our stated objectives for this first of two 5-year phases.
2015 has been marked by the most severe El Niño-related climatic conditions ever recorded in Honduras. A prolonged drought, accompanied by phenomenal heat, caused many field operations to be postponed as families worked to keep nursery seedlings watered and shaded until they could safely be planted out.
Almost all pruning operations and crop-planting in mature alleys that had been planned for this year have had to be postponed until reliable rainfall could coincide with the next planting season. In most cases this has delayed cropping for those families for a whole year.
On the North coast, the drought lasted for 7 months; many side-streams and springs dried up; many small fish and other aquatic animals were killed and the country’s hydro-electric plants ran only sporadically.
The worst affected alley-plots were those on the steep, eroded and sandy soils of the Cangrejal river valley; together with a few in the Cuero catchment which, in general, however, fared better. More details are given below.
In spite of these unprecedented climatic extremes, a few milestones were passed: The team estimate that the total number of trees, planted for all purposes in the Guama Model since 2012, has now well exceeded 1 million. The total number of families recruited to the Model and in various stages of adoption (from nursery trees to the point of cropping) has exceeded the December 2016 target of 200.
Good progress has been made in the remote sub-catchment of Los Limpios. In order to save on logistical costs, we have established a nursery there. This is managed by ElÍ Cruz and holds approximately 35,000 tree seedlings under temporary palm-thatch shade. A total of 18 families have developing Inga plots, together with Cacao establishing with Inga as shade. More are now asking to become involved.
Approximately 75,000 broadleaf timber trees have been produced and distributed to the families as part of the reforestation component of the Guama Model. As a further part of the tree-crop component, about 40,000 grafted fruit trees have been produced in our nurseries and distributed. These are comprised of Cacao, Rambutan and Avocado.
The demonstration facilities at Las Flores and CURLA have come into their own as the number of visitor groups has risen. Among many Honduran groups, two group visits from other countries were followed by more-intense involvements as nominees from Nicaragua and Belize were embedded with our field operations for several weeks. Both sets of visitors returned to their countries with large amounts of Inga seed.