Nicaragua: Carbon Sink, Economic Driver & Medicinal Plant Preservation by Cecalli Esteli
Poverty stricken & war torn, Nicaragua's people strive for healthy environs & Cecalli has ambitious plans to improve life via reforestation.
The goal is to reforest 750 hectares of land in 3 years, 250 hectares per year, for a total 400 trees per hectare resulting in 300,000 trees to be planted.
Work includes a visit to communities with promoters to establish commitments to plant and care for trees, community work and community organization aimed at raising awareness on the basis of project planning with stakeholders about project development.
It requires six months to establish nurseries, which would be the beginning of the year, we have six months after planting in areas that are rainy months.
The municipality’s deserted areas are selected because they are highly degraded with low rainfall, with some degree of erosion, in addition they will have a high degree of community organization lending to a high degree of success for the project.
The selected trees are specimens that are adapted to the proposed areas and have a unique root system which guarantees optimum growth. Included are precious woods and medicinal specimens. Specimen diversity has the effect of creating healthier forest ecosystems.
This project captures carbon dioxide and produces oxygen, protects water and soil, and provides social and ecological enhancements, natural medicines, livestock feed, and raises awareness in communities regarding care of the environment. We will work with families, men, women and youth. The project will include irrigation of permanent drip seedlings using plastic beverage bottles sold in both communities which also reduces environmental damage.
The role of women is of great value being 50% of our promoters/participants in listed communities.
3 people will realize full-time work to monitor, provide information, train others, installation of nurseries, and will work in nurseries for bag filling, irrigation, transplant, transfer, and to support the planting and care of trees for which there are 22 jobs for each municipality, paid for hours worked and results.
What actions do you propose?
Grow and Plant 300,000 trees in Nicaragua.
- Grow trees in designated nurseries built specifially for this project
- Employ local citizens to manage the nurseries & trees
- Employ Esteli citizens to train and assist planters
- Utilize local resources to manage the project
- Employ teams of citizens in project areas to plant, monitor & manage tree growth
- Acquire materials including biochar, mycorrhiza, starts, cuttings, soil, fertilizers, 4x4 vehicle, promotional/training materials, and community agreements
- Produce annual reports relating challenges, successes, ideas for improvement on the project, and follow up reports in years 5 and 10 to measure the success of the project and any "domino effect" outcomes (relating the use of plants for livestock food, use of plants for medicine, and use of plants for commercial applications).
Specimens to be planted are:
- Carao (Cassia grandis Anemia supplement, blood healer)
- Marango (Moringa oleifera livestock feed and human food natural flocculant, energy, raw material source of cellulose and plant growth regulating hormones)
- Madriado ( Gliricidia sepium Cover crop tree common w/ coffee)
- Mandagual (Caesalpinia velutina Posts, rural construction, rustic furniture, farm tools)
- Cedro (genus of coniferous pináceas Antispetic, insect repelling)
- Caoba (genus of Mahogany Furniture, musical instruments)
- Macuelizo (Tabebuia rosea Timber and aesthetic for flowers)
- Genizaro (Fabaceae family crown diameter measuring 15 meters absorbed 28.5 tons of CO2 annually)
- Achiote (Bixa orellana L. Annatto for food, paint, heartburn distress)
- Guanacaste (Enterolobium cyclocarpum Shade tree, ornamental, livestock feed, nitrogen fixer)
- Guaba (Guava Food antioxidant, rich in dietary fiber, vitamins A and C, folic acid, and the dietary minerals, potassium, copper and manganese and medicinal tea)
- Sardinillo aka Candelillo (Tecoma stans Covers willingly harsh and dry landscapes mistreated and abandoned by man, reported to lower blood sugar)
Where applicable, applications of arbuscular mycorrhizas and other ectomycorrhizal fungi will be made to improve the success rate of the project due to high capacity of carbon sequestration and longevity leading to ongoing soil improvements.
Acquisition of biochar and mycorrhiza material specifically means that Cecalli workers will process natural materials to create these products. Resources exist in local environments and the process to create these materials is relatively simple and inexpensive. As a long-time, professional horticulturalist I (PJ) have partcipated in the creation of a product known as Effective Microorginisms (EM) which contains mycorrhiza in Costa Rica using native forest materials and have used commercial "myco" in work as a technical specialist for a lanscape company in Santa Fe, New Mexico. While new to the biochar process, I find the "recipe" for creating that product equally as easy as the recipe for EM and have begun teaching Cecalli about both EM and biochar.
By creating these products, the costs of implementing this piece (soil enhancements) of the proposal are kept at a minimum.
When created, EM includes naturally occuring mycorrhiza from native soils. Rojas' recipe for EM noted in complete references results in 50 gallons of concentrate which, when diluted is 2500-50,000 gallons worth of EM ("EM and activated EM can be diluted with water for application with ratios from 1:50 water to 1:10000 water" - source: http://www.gardenerspantry.ca/microorganisms/effective-microorganisms.html). Photographs below are from the day I helped make EM in Costa Rica. The procedure includes: 1) Processing forest litter, 2) Mixing in powdered rice, 3) Mixing in molasses, and 4) Packing processed materials in 50 gal container to be sealed, airtight, so it may ferment/activate.
Photographs courtesy of Ecojoya.
Making Biochar to Improve Soil "By making biochar from brush and other hard to compost organic material, you can improve soil — it enhances nutrient availability and also enables soil to retain nutrients longer" source:
Following is a youtube video on How to make Biochar (small scale homeowners)
Who will take these actions?
Team Leaders: Cecalli, a legally registered Nicaraguan Non-Profit organization with a track record of success in horticulture, forestry, medicinal plant manufacturing, sales, training others in plant management & harvesting, health awareness, & medical clinic management; with PJ.
Participants: Residents and citizens of Nicaragua whom will include women, youth and men of Esteli and people whom will be chosen from each location where the project is proposed as listed below. These are people whose lives are complicated by multiple years with no substantial employment, people who have worked with Cecalli in the past and whose skills match the project's needs, and people who are new to this type of work and who will receive job training
Because this project may be replicated in other similar climates (north and south of and in equatorial zones), universities and climate solutions leaders in other regions may be added to the team to develop a larger reforestation program which would require an amended budget tailored to meet the needs of other project sites (each project would own its own budget and team leadership).
Replicability specifically means: this model may be used to design and implement similar reforestation projects in other regions (perhaps around the world) but will require plan adaptation considerations - choice of specimens and work logistics will differ depending on needs, soil types, worker access, and community support/agreement. Should this project go global, Nicaragua will serve as a pilot project.
Areas recommended for replication may include, but are not limited to:
- Brazil (especially in need, see Reuters reference 5 July 2013)
- El Salvador
- Costa Rica
Local support is strong and popular Nicaraguan musician, Gustavo Bucardo, has offered to support the project with fundraising concerts. His song> La Montana < @youtube, is dedicated to the project. Photo linked to more of his music. :)
photo source: LaPrensa
Where will these actions be taken?
Nicaragua, specifically in these locations:
1. Pueblo Nuevo
5. Santa Rosa del Penon
6. San Lucas
7. El Sauce
See via Google Map: http://goo.gl/maps/71qCA
Map from Google Maps
Wiki description of North Central Highlands:
Nicaragua political map credit Wiki Commons
How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?
"Trees grow three times faster in the tropics than in temperate zones; each tree in the rainy tropics removes about 22 kilograms (50 pounds) of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year."
Cecalli's goal is to plant 300,000 trees over a three year period, & at mature state:
300k x 50#s = max 15Mil#s (6803.89t) carbon dioxide may be sequestered/yr, young trees sequester more.
Additionally, biochar & mycorrhiza further increase CO2 sequestration over time (see below).
Notably, "tropical forests, over the last couple of decades, would have sequestered around 1.3 Gt of carbon, or 4.8* gigatonnes of CO2, per year" (Tropical forest CO2 fertilisation: self-mitigation of emissions possibly @ 15%).
Due to over-harvesting, & drought conditions, current CO2 sequestration is in decline.
What are other key benefits?
- Employment of local citizens will result in more money circulating in the local economy
- Awesome musician will provide fundraising concerts!
- Ranchers realize greater access to high quality food for livestock
- Nutritional food for human consumption increased
- Nicaragua's natural/alternative "medicine chest" will be enhanced
- More knowledge of the impacts of reforestation will be made avialable for public use
- Forest's specimen diversity will be increased
- Preservation of specimens heading for extinction will occur (increasing endangered specimen stock)
- Use of mycorrhizal fungi increases carbon capture "Measurements of plant carbon allocation to mycorrhizal fungi have been estimated to be 5-20% of total plant carbon uptake, and in some ecosystems the biomass of mycorrhizal fungi can be comparable to the biomass of fine roots. Recent research has shown that mycorrhizal fungi hold 50 to 70 percent of total carbon stored in leaf litter and soil on forested islands in Sweden"
- Easily replicable
What are the proposal’s costs?
$168,255.10 USD for:
- Nursery construction
- Planting materials (bags, soil, tags,etc)
- Fuel and vehicle for transporting workers/trees
- Research / reporting / educational materials
- Promotional equipment and materials
* Annual reports. Need to add to budget: $300 USD for all
** If the project goes global. Need to add to budget: travel/information exchange/training costs, perhaps $6,000 USD
*** Biochar / mycorrhiza. Need to add to 3 yr budget, nominal though, perhaps an additional $200-$300 USD for 3 yrs
Amended budget total for full project costs (at most): $174,855.10 USD
N.B. Amended budget numbers do *not reflect additional global project actions beyond consultation/training - additional project site costs are location and resource dependent & require development by other project leaders.
Detailed Three Year Budget (In Spanish) does not include
*annual reports, **global expansion, ***biochar & mychorrhiza or additional project sites. It is Nicaragua specific.
Budget support proposed from music concerts by Gustavo Bucardo. Concert promoters being sought now.
This is a ten year project to begin in the fall of 2013
- 2013 -2014 growing of nursery stock, training staff, promoting project, first phase of planting and open dialog with climate solutions leaders in other regions
- 2014 second phase of planting and tree management teams to monitor and attend to specimens
- 2015 third phase of planting and tree management teams to monitor and attend to specimens
- Years 1, 2, and 3 annual reports published / disseminated in December
- Years 5 and 10 follow up reports will be published / disseminated
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