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Community / Land projects / Reforestation project in Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Reforestation project in Santa Cruz, Bolivia


09/14 - 06/21


This project is part of


In the Department of Santa Cruz, over four million hectares of forests have been cleared, of which approximately three million hectares illegally. In 2013 a new law was approved, demanding farmers to reforest 10% of these originally classified forest areas. Failure to comply with this new law, make farms liable to reversion to the State. Therefore, a huge market demand for reforestation services exists.The two project partners, Futuro Forestal S.A. from Panama and Canavalia Servicios Verdes from Bolivia will start an integrated reforestation service-providing company for commercial farmers in Santa Cruz. It will offer the integrated service of land use planning, reforestation planning, seedling production of indigenous hardwood species, plantation establishment and maintenance with a maximum capacity of 500,000 seedlings or 1,250 ha of reforested areas per year. The company will substitute the seedlings in plastic bags for seedlings in paper sleeves, reducing the environmental impact and improving the root systems development. Further, it will introduce a modular seedling handling and transport system, ensuring plants to arrive in prime conditions at the planting site. Part of the nurseries will be started by five communities in the Chiquitania, which will also do the planting and maintenance at the commercial farms neighbouring their communities. As such, the project will generate income and employment in the indigenous communities besides the beneficial impact on the environment in the region.Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)The project will contribute to the resolution of an environmental problem, the illegal deforestation, by planting as much as possible native tree species. The joint venture will assist the small farmers with access to credit for the reforestation, offer the complete package to assist them with the bureaucracy and plant species which after 10 to 30 years have good market value for the farmers. The joint venture will cooperate closely with a community enterprise of the indigenous people from Lomerio, assisting them in the formation of the enterprise and offering job opportunities. The joint venture will work according to the Bolivian and OECD standards. The joint venture will have its own CSR policy. It will not accept child or forced labour, nor corruption. It will work according to strict occupational health and safety standards. ISO 9001 will be implemented.Impact• Employment and working conditionsThe company will offer good working conditions (according to OHSAS 18001 requirements) and attractive fringe benefits. The company will pay living wages. Also, the part-time staff (4 months a year) will receive all social benefits. Further, the joint venture will comply with all legal obligations in Bolivia, like pension fund, social benefits, accident and health insurance, 2 months extra salary, etc.• Innovation/Transfer of knowledgeIt will be the first company in Bolivia delivering the complete service to commercial farmers of land use planning, reforestation plan, seedling production and sales of seedlings of indigenous species, plantation establishment and maintenance. The service will be delivered according to the latest law on reforestation of 2013. In addition, it will introduce new elements like the Ellepot sleeve technology instead of plastic bags, a tray and rack system for seedlings handling and transportation, drones for aerial mapping, planning and monitoring of the reforested areas, central and communal nurseries.• Chain effectsImpact on local suppliersAs local suppliers beneficiaries will be the suppliers of composted organic material as a substrate for the seedlings. The project will stimulate demand for composted material and thereby promote the creation of small, local level composting plants at community or municipality level. Currently, no compost is made in Santa Cruz or surroundings for selling purposes. The NGO Swiss Contact has already shown interest to incentivise the supply chain for small collectors of organic matter.Tree seed will as much as possible been bought from at least 200 local recollectors, who will be trained in marking of parent trees, seed harvesting, cleaning and storage. These recollectors will be contracted as a kind of outgrowers for the joint venture and are mostly people from indigenous communities living in or close to the forests. Five indigenous communities from Lomerio will be contracted to establish 5 nurseries for the project, produce seedlings and establish the plantations at farmers’ fields. A communal enterprise will be formed, assisted by the joint venture. This will mostly generate jobs for women, who will be trained in nursery techniques. Besides, at least 40 community people will be trained and have part-time jobs in the reforestation teams.Other local suppliers will be the Guabira sugar refinery for organic material for composting, companies supplying spare parts for all vehicles etc, Probioma for biological pest control, fuel stations, lubricant suppliers, office material suppliers, etc.Impact on local customers or consumersThe impact of the activities of the joint venture on their customers is very important. First of all, the local partner Canavalia strengthens the position and the role of the Federation of livestock owners by assisting and training their technical department on how to assist livestock farmers with all bureaucratic procedures of the obligatory reforestation. Secondly, the joint venture assists the livestock farmers in the entire process, guaranteeing not only legal compliance of the reforestation law but also good success rates of the planted seedlings. As such, farmers will not have to fear confiscation of their land by the government. Moreover, by choosing native but attractive wood producing species the farmers will have a future source of income of their land, which outweighs the yearly income from livestock keeping. Estimates show that income per ha may be made after 15 years, thus contributing to diversification of farm income. Farmers who comply with environmental requirements will also be eligible to access meat export markets. There are quotas for meat export and the Government will only grant permits for export to those farmers complying with the reforestation and other laws in Bolivia, similar to the rules in Brazil. Such farmers will then benefit from improved short term income and preferential access to lines of credit currently under development by commercial banks. Canavalia is actively lobbying with WWF and the Bolivian Government to include Bolivia in the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, generating even better export opportunities for the farmers.• Impact on the sectorThe joint venture will introduce new technologies as the Ellepot sleeve filling system, Ellepot seedling handling and transport system and use of drones for land use planning. Once they see the advantages other nursery owners will be interested to follow the example of efficient handling of seedlings and better potting system. The joint venture will create a market for Ellepot and will be the local sales agent. The forestry sector in Bolivia is suffering from a significant decline in its importance within the local economy, affected by illegality, high deforestation rates and import of cheaper good quality plantation wood from Chile and Peru. The sector should incorporate the legal wood from plantation sources in order to be able to compete. Currently, there are only 30,000 ha of forest plantations at national level. The project will actively contribute to increase the importance of plantation wood in future by increasing the total area of native species plantations by more than 50% in 5 years. As the reforestation sector is closely linked to the sustainable use of natural resources, the joint venture will establish contacts with NGOs, universities and other knowledge institutions in order to promote integrated resource management practices by the agricultural sector in Bolivia. The link with the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef will create the opportunity for the Federation of livestock owners to actively work together with NGOs and knowledge institutions. The local partner and the joint venture will actively promote this process. With WWF a process will be developed of farm certification for farms complying with the forest restoration process in line with national policies. With the Fundación para la Conservación del Bosque Seco Chiquitano biological corridors will be identified that should connect areas of importance to biodiversity as a means of planning forest restoration. With the NGO FAN forest restoration plans and fire management practices will be developed. Together with the forestry research institute IBIF activities will be coordinated related to integrated management of the Lomerio area and training of local community members. With the local University NUR a training programme will be developed for communities on community enterprise management. Students of the national agricultural university UAGRM will be engaged in the team for short term studies.• EnvironmentThe project assists in resolving an ecological problem. In total 4 million hectares of forests has been cleared in 20 years’ time of which 3 million hectares illegally. Areas illegally cut include areas close to rivers, lakes, nature reserves, mountain slopes, etc. The severe deforestation has boosted climate change at the local level, areas having less rainfall and other areas affected by rivers destroying agricultural lands after high rainfall intensity. The new law (337) on forest restoration and food production of Bolivia sets a clear framework in order to reach sustainable agriculture and active forest management to reach food self-sufficiency. Reforestation of 10% of the illegally deforested areas and all ecological areas with native tree species plays a major role in this framework. The joint venture will put the example how an environmental responsible reforestation can be done efficiently. By integrating agriculture and forestry at the landscape level the project will create more favourable environmental conditions for agricultural production, reducing soil loss from erosion, the risk of fire and the effects of strong winds which can decimate crops. The initiative will contribute to the development of an agricultural sector that employs less predatory productive practices.On technical level the use of paper sleeves instead of plastic pots is an environmentally friendly way or seedling production. By stimulating compost making in cities and communities the joint venture is confronting another environmental problem.• Position of womenIt will generate employment for at least 50% women and also income for women in the communities of Lomerio working in the communal nurseries and women collectors of seeds.• Impact on food safetyIn Bolivia food production per hectare is decreasing due to unsustainable agricultural practices, including large scale deforestation creation soil erosion and flooding. The project will restore the landscape, windbreaks and barriers against floods, as such directly contributing to a more sustainable way of agriculture. Indirectly the project contributes to the long term food security in this region of Bolivia.• Impact on waterThe project directly contributes to the management of watersheds by restoration of forests along river beds, acting as barriers against flooding. Over the last 35 years 100,000 hectares of agricultural lands in Santa Cruz have been affected by the heavy floods due to uncontrolled deforestation of the river beds. Every year fertile soils are washed away and agricultural crops destroyed by the remaining water on the land.


To establish a reforestation service-providing company for commercial farmers in Santa Cruz, offering the integrated service of land use planning, reforestation planning, seedling production of indigenous species, plantation establishment and maintenance

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