The project aims to work with communities within a micro-basin of the Tojguech River, in San Marcos province, Western Guatemala. The high-altitude area experiences a cool and moist climate, and is an important catchment area for the watershed. Baseline ecosystem pressures include significant deforestation and soil degradation, threatening soils, as well as several endemic tree species, particularly pinabete (Abies guatemalensis), pino blanco (Araucaria angustifolia), and pino colorado (Pinus patula).
Ongoing climate impacts are reducing the resilience of the soils and ecosystems of the region to resist flooding and erosion. As hurricanes, storms, and rainfall increases in intensity, and as dry spells become more common and evapotranspiration increases, soils will be decreasingly able to hold moisture, becoming increasingly erosive and leading to higher ratios of runoff to infiltration. Increases in runoff – attributable to climate change – will threaten the long-term ability of the ecosystem to recover in the face of biophysical and anthropogenic disturbances, changing pathways of ecological succession and altering the composition of this globally significant ecosystem. These ecosystem impacts will lead to increases in agricultural erosion, flood, and landslides, threatening lives and livelihoods – both for the upstream communities directly affected by the project, as well as for communities living downstream.
CBA project activities will compliment baseline IUCN reforestation activities by establishing community-managed tree nurseries, and building the capacity of the community to manage key watershed forest ecosystems, maintaining ecosystem services in the face of increasing climate-driven threats of flood, erosion, and landslide.
The objective of the project is to sustainably manage forest resources to protect native species, soils, and ecosystem services (flood, erosion, and landslide protection) from climate change risks.