Of the 202,865 hectares of the Sierra del Lacandón National Park approximately 95,529 hectares are well preserved primary forest and about 54,000 hectares are in a process of regeneration.

Between 2000 and 2012, around 25,000 hectares of forest were lost throughout the Sierra del Lacandón National Park.

Biodiversity is nothing more than all the variety of living beings on the planet, and they are the basis of a healthy and functional ecosystem.

An intact ecosystem provides a wealth of valuable environmental services, such as water regulation, erosion protection, carbon sequestration, nutrient cycling, among others; in addition to providing raw materials and food

It is necessary to actively involve local people in the sustainable development and management of climate change mitigation and sustainable forest management projects, which fairly participates in the potential positive effects, not only because it is an important moral responsibility, but for being essential for the long-term success of the project.



The tropical rain forest in northern Guatemala is one of the most biodiverse and, at the same time, one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world. The Sierra del Lacandón National Park, spanning an area of 202,865 hectares, provides refuge to endangered species such as the scarlet macaw and the jaguar. However, the rate of deforestation in northern Guatemala is high due to encroaching settlements, forest fires, illegal logging, and cattle ranching. An average of 1,240 hectares of forest land is being cleared every year. Public funding to provide financing for effective conservation of the national park is insufficient.

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Preserved Hectares

+ 870

Protected species


Project started

+ 179

Families benefited



Located in Central America, south of Mexico, Guatemala is a biodiversity hotspot, which, due to conditions typical of climates and altitudes, presents a wide range of ecosystems. This makes Guatemala one of the 19 members of the Group of Like-Minded Megadiverse Countries, which functions as a consultative and cooperative mechanism established to promote the common interests and priorities of conservation-related parties and sustainable use of biological diversity.

In 2014 Guatemala assumed the presidency of this Group.


In Guatemala, forests represent approximately 34% of the territory, of which 52% is located in protected areas (National Forest Institute, National Council of Protected Areas, Guatemala Valley University and Rafael Landívar University).
Although the net deforestation rate has declined, the country is losing an annual average of 1 percent of its current total forest cover, that is, 132,137.15 hectares (1,321.37 square kilometers) annually.

Deforestation causes almost 50% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the country and increases vulnerability to climate change. (Environmental Profile of Guatemala, 2012).

To address this problem, the State of Guatemala has made great efforts to counteract deforestation and reduce the impacts of climate change, through the generation of laws, policies and regulations, which are being articulated in the National REDD + Strategy, through which it hopes to be able to fulfill many of the commitments that the country has acquired at the international level (Bonn Challenge, Paris Agreements, Biological Diversity Convention, among others).







Last May, the Mechanism for the distribution of benefits from the sale of carbon credits generated by the project was approved. The mechanism aims to benefit communities and secure forest protection funds




Defensores de la Naturaleza

Javier Márquez
Director Desarrollo Institucional


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In addition to Defensores de la Naturaleza, the project is made up of three Agricultural Cooperatives of Miscellaneous Services: La Técnica Agropecuaria, Unión Maya Itzá y La Lucha.

Altogether, they benefit more than 179 families, which depend to a large extent on agricultural activities that have put pressure on the forest, since their main income comes from the cultivation of maize, beans and squash; and of the livestock production of hens, pigs and turkeys at subsistence level. In addition, some cooperatives have implemented sustainable forest management, both timber and non-timber products.

Due to the limited economic alternatives, the forest has been under pressure, not only for the advance of the agricultural frontier, but also for the sale of land, which often ends up in the hands of large farmers who eliminate the forest to establish areas of pasture.

Under this problem, the REDD + Lacandón Project, Forests for Life represents an opportunity to generate productive alternatives that reduce deforestation and improve the living conditions of families willing to participate actively in the project.


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Project Consultant

Oro Verde

Dr. Elke Mannigel​
International Project Coordination


Lacandón Project

PBX : (+502) 2310-2929
Email: jmarquez@defensores.org.gt
Address: 4a Av. 23-01 Zona 14
Fundación Defensores de la Naturaleza



For all kinds of questions, comments and concerns; please complete the form below

Acquires carbon credits from the Lacandon project in

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Commonly known as carbon credits, under the VCS Program (Verified Carbon Standard) they are referred to as Verified Carbon Units (VCUs), which represents the reduction or removal of a ton of carbon dioxide. equivalent (CO2e) achieved by a project. The VCU are characterized by a series of quality assurance principles, confirmed through the process of validation and verification of the project. The VCU are finally bought and retired by an end user, as a means to offset their greenhouse gas emissions. All VCU issuance and withdrawal records are publicly available in the VCS project database.

It must be borne in mind that VCUs can frame other certifications granted by non-GHG programs approved by VCS. These additional certifications typically represent the benefits to the community and biodiversity that were achieved under the project, in addition to the climate benefits inherent in a VCU. These additional certifications provide added value to the VCU, which allows them to be considered as premium.

In the case of Lacandón Bosques para la Vida, in addition to VCS, the CCBS (Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standars) certification was used, which attests to the benefits that the project generates for the communities and biodiversity of the region. Sierra del Lacandón National Park.