The NGO “Fundación Naturaleza para la Vida” (NPV) was established in 1997 as a not-for-profit entity dedicated to forest Management in the Petén region of Guatemala. The overall objective of NPV was the conservation of forest ecosystems in the region, involving local communities, private owners, grassroots organizations and public and private institutions in the management. The Foundation started its activities supporting the community concessions in the multiple land use zone of the Maya Biosphere Reserve, one of the best examples of community managed natural forest in Latin America.
The secondary and degraded forests managed by NPV and financed by FCCF are located in the area South of the Mayan Biosphere Reserve. The Petén has one of the highest deforestation rates in Central America (annual forest loss of 3%) and secondary and degraded forests are particularly affected. However, forests in the region are very productive ecosystems and there is an established local timber processing industry.
NPV partners with small and medium sized landowners and proposes FSC certified managed by forests generating regular income to the owner and allowing a recovery of the natural forest. Neither NPV nor FCCF acquire any land for this project but work within the existing ownership structure.
NPV has a strong team with long experience in forest management and are motivated by the perspective to bring tangible solutions to the degraded and secondary forests in the region. Starting small with an area of ca. 600ha the venture is designed to scale substantially. Silvicultural activities will be mainly done by local landowners and their people under supervision of NPV. Specific operations such as logging or sawing are contracted from service providers.
Guatemala is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. With this project, the increase in formal jobs on the level of the individual Fincas is likely to have significant follow-on effects. For example, a formal job contract (as guardians) with social security will allow two families living within one of the forest areas to send their children to school.