Don Mauricio’s Pine Trees

If it makes economic sense to plant trees, wouldn´t more people reforest their land? Indeed they would. In Guatemala landowners are paid annually to reforest an area through a program supported by the government´s Forestry Institute, INAB. However, the application process can be complicated, so FDN assists the communities with the paperwork and trains them in efficient forestry practices.

“People used to plant corn here, but the land was too steep and the soil was poor so it didn´t grow well,” FDN forest ranger Don Mauricio explains, while pointing at the hillside close to the village Monjas Panimaquito, at the western side of the Sierra de las Minas. In addition to Spanish, he speaks both Queqchi and Pokom, two widely different indigenous languages that are essential to know in this area, near Purulhá, Baja Verapaz. Don Mauricio shows us the pine forests that surround the village. FDN donated the first trees, but now the communities know how to grow seedlings.

“At first, when we told people about INAB´s programs, they were skeptical. But when they received the first checks after a year, they were convinced. They made much more money with the forests than with the corn and there was much less work involved. It´s really amazing to see how the community has flourished,” Don Maurico says.

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