Our latest achievements in Honduras include the distribution of more than 5,000,000 seeds, and in excess of 200,000 trees planted with our partners network. In addition to this there has been an increased effort in targeted agroforestry.
Honduras is a country of varied terrains and environments, from the lush rainforests found on the humid north coast region to the semi-arid drier fertile interior valleys.
In the south a shortage of water to local communities is the result of historical free-range cattle farming, and ever shortening cycles of slash-and-burn farming. The lack of water as a result of streams drying up can often result in communities being without water from February till the rainy season in May.
Years of cattle use in the north have vastly eroded pasturelands, whilst constant logging has stripped the region of its once plentiful hardwood. This issue also exists in the central valleys where extensive logging has damaged important watersheds, leaving the population with decreasing water supplies. The damage to water supplies is also prevalent in the highlands where extensive use of agrochemicals for coffee and vegetable production has resulted in the pollution of aquifers and streams.
Recently, with Honduras becoming a centre of tropical timber sales, the government has prohibited the harvesting of natural hardwood and introduced a certification process. Since 2008 these policies have reduced logging being the main cause of deforestation in Honduras, however firewood production very quickly took over in its place. As fuel prices soared many people returned to using firewood as a traditional source of fuel. The price of firewood has doubled making the harvesting of trees for firewood a lucrative prospect for the rural populous.
For each region our partner organisations are creating a bespoke response programme to meet the needs of local people.
In the south, there are programmes teaching the benefits of infrequent or rare cattle pasturing, and forage trees have been provided for supply to cattle producers. In addition to this there has been widespread encouragement in planting Moringa Oleifera (the ‘miracle tree’) well known for its numerous benefits and high nutritional crop content.
On the north coast, partnering organisations are working alongside Lancitilla Botanical Reserve and Botanical Gardens. These organisations are providing education and support material to local producers, encouraging stable fed dairy cattle farming and explaining the benefits of some tree species for forage. These organisations are also providing species of timber and fruit trees to local farmers, to support the rebuilding of fragile pastures, and protect these areas from further erosion.
Alongside local organisations in the highlands, our partners are teaching local producers about soil conservation. In addition to this they are providing fast growing timber species to coffee farmers encouraging differing sources of income. This is especially useful as via the government certification programme they will be able to sell the timber harvest legally.
In central Honduras, local groups and our partner organisations are planting trees to protect vital watershed areas and thus improve the water shortage crisis of recent years.