Lacandón – Forests for Life, is located in the Sierra de Lacandón National Park in Petén department, north of Guatemala, and aims to conserve the rainforest and its biodiverse ecosystems in collaboration with local communities.
The project started on February 1, 2012 and is expected to continue until January 31, 2041.
The project is designed in a grouped manner, where a process of Information and detailed consultation with the partner communities, in order to obtain the prior, free and informed consent to be part of the project. Based on that, the project will be conducted in the first years in totally private areas, owned by Defensores de la Naturaleza and the cooperatives La Lucha, La Agropecuaria Técnica y el Unión Maya Itzá, who own property titles.
The project area for the first phase is 53, 884.2 hectares, of which 45,288 hectares correspond to forest area Other communities and state areas within the Sierra de Lacandón National Park, within the total project area , can be added to the REDD + project if they have signed permanence agreements, forest cover and demonstrate the interest of most of their families through free, prior and informed consent.
Under the project, endangered and listed IUCN species such as jaguar (Panthera onca), tapir (Tapirus bairdii) and mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) and cedar (Cedrella odorata) species are protected. and sustainable forest management activities support the livelihoods of local communities.
The rainforest in northern Guatemala is considered a “biodiversity hotspot”. Located within the Maya Biosphere Reserve, it is one of the most threatened ecosystems in the world. The Sierra de Lacandón National Park offers shelter to endangered species such as the red macaw (Ara macao), white-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari) and jaguar (Panthera onca) in this area.
However, due to illegal human settlements, expansion of livestock, forest fires, illegal logging and agricultural activities, the rate of deforestation in this precious region is high. Lacandón – Forests for Life is a REDD + project that seeks to reduce deforestation in the National Park, conserving biodiversity and developing subsistence economic alternatives.
Defenders of Nature and three local communities, Unión Maya Itzá, La Lucha and La Técnica Agropecuaria developed the initiative and integrated a governance committee to manage the project and strengthen local capacities, where more than 179 families are expected to benefit.
Sustainable forestry activities (wood and non-wood products) are a source of income for local communities, while improving water management and agricultural techniques, as well as the conservation of natural resources. The project strengthens local governance, promotes the participation of women and develops sustainable economic activities.