Site development in Latin America and Africa
Every good idea starts somewhere. IAFN’s site development program proposes to sow the seeds of agricultural innovation by funding small analog forestry pilot sites in different corners of the world. That’s why, in mid-2013, the IAFN Secretariat made a call for proposals to our partners in order to make available a small amount of seed funding for these pilot sites. The main objective of this process is to promote the methodology of analog forestry, through successful demonstration sites that will help teach biodiversity restoration techniques.
The model that we have used is small micro-loans of less than $5000, which the receiving organizations pay back by using the site as a training node for analog forestry. The Secretariat had the difficult task of choosing the four most promising projects from the nine applications we received. Now, we can proudly say that the selected projects, which are just about to get started, are the following:
- A 2.5 hectare site in Bamessing Village in northeast Cameroon, organized by Forest and Agroforestry Promoters (FAP-NGO). FAP is a partner of the Cameroon Analog Forestry Network, or CAFON.
- An analog forest of six hectares, based on a design by Dr. Ranil Senanayake, in the community of Cuero y Salado, Honduras. A dedicated group from the community itself proposed the project, under the auspices of our newest partner, the Tree Project.
- Introduction of analog forestry through a one-hectare demonstration site in Puerto Maldonado in the Peruvian Amazon. ArBio, another new partner in the network, will be taking up this challenge.
- Landworks to improve waterways and erosion control in order to complement a two-decade-old analog forestry design (also by Dr. Senanayake) on two hectares in Posada Natura, coordinated by EcoEra. This site will be used as a teaching complement in trainings delivered by the Analog Forest Training Centre in Londres, Costa Rica.
We wish the best of luck to our partners who have received funds through this initiative of IAFN Secretariat, and we hope to continue to post updates on the progress of these 11.5 hectares. In metres squared, this may be a modest amount, but we trust that the results will help our partners to have more impact in their local communities. We here at IAFN will be with them every step of the way, sharing their stories of success and encouraging the adoption of a new rural development paradigm. Next year, we hope to grow the program — not only to sow the seeds of biodiversity restoration through more demonstration sites, but also in order to build up a body of data that can be used by anyone who wishes to practice analog forestry: information on startup costs, as well as costs of maintenance and development. We will also be collecting data on the accumulation of biomass, the increase in biodiversity, the economic opportunities created, and the improvement of the quality of life in local communities that live and coexist with the forest.