This project was undertaken between December 2013 and December 2017, in collaboration with the Foundation del Rio and the Association for Sustainable Tourism of Bartola (ATSB). It took place in the South of Nicaragua, among Bartola’s community of 26 families, in the buffer zone of the country’s second biggest reserve: Indio Maiz, an area especially threatened by deforestation. Its goal was to create productive changes in the farms to reduce the surface used for farming and cattle breeding, reduce the deforestation practices and reforest the plots…It relied among others on the implementation of more sustainable agricultural systems and of silvopasture and agroforestry plots.
Slash-and-burn, a practice that must be changed
Most inhabitants of Bartola arrived less than 20 years ago, in a context significantly shaped by population displacement. The geographic isolation and communication conditions make access to markets difficult, which in return forces farmers to focus their agriculture on beef cattle. The latter is extensive while not very productive.
Cultures, which are mainly subsistence crops, also suffer from low and unsure productivity. There is sometimes a clash between cattle breeding and agriculture, in particular with the slash-and-burn process.
Slash-and-burn is the main process used to clear and fertilize land plots. It consists in cutting trees of a forest plot and then setting it on fire. It is a process adapted to this population’s conditions as it doesn’t need much labor and tools and leads to fertile soils. However the fallow periods required to ensure the sustainability of this system are not respected.
Solution: an intensification focused on local trees’ potential
The implementation of an agro-forestry system with Inga (sweet peas)
Inga agro-forestry was developed over 30 years ago by Mike Hands an agro-botanist with an expertise in tropical environments. He now shares his technique through the Inga Foundation and supports farmers in their transition which is currently one of the few sustainable alternatives to slash-and-burn farming. We are in close relation with the Inga Foundation to implement this technique in the community.
The implementation of a less extensive and more productive breeding
By setting up hedgerows and protein banks and also replanting trees that don’t compete with pastures but even participate to their fertilization. Hence trees offer a quality nutritional source, shade and a fertility intake as well as fight against erosion and participate in restoring landscapes.
Immersion in the Sylvopasture Project in Nicaragua
Discover in pictures the Sylvopasture Project in Nicaragua