Reforestation in the Andean valleys of Bolivia
In summer of 2014, Naturefund started a reforestation project in the Tunari National Park in Bolivia. The national park is located in the Eastern Cordillera of the Andes and encompasses the valley of Cochabamba at just over 2,500 metres above sea-level. Just over 80,000 people live in the national park. Many of them try to safe-guard their survival with basic agriculture. But the forests, once covering the entire mountain slopes, have been cut down. The soil is barren and dry, water is in short supply and when it actually does happen to rain, mudslides with disastrous consequences occur ever more frequently.
Naturefund therefore started a pilot project and is supporting farmer families in converting their land to dynamic agroforests. Our aim is to create edible forests that provide the families with sustainable, organic products as well as new sources of income.
Basic data of project
The Tunari National Park is located in the valley of Cochabamba in Bolivia and belongs to the Eastern cordillera of the Andes with its highest point being the Tunari at 5,035 metres above sea-level.
The National Park itself comprises an area of 3,090 km², with around 80,000 people living in spread-out villages.
For instance: condor, vicuña , llama, alpaca, viscacha and Cochabamba mountain finch (a bird species threatened with extinction).
Hopbush, cactus, Polylepis tomentella, caper spurge, mamania, capsicum, tamarillo, tola, ragancho, peach, apple, pomegranate, pacay, pera motas, orqokaralao, toborochi, tipa, oyronqo, taro, pine, date, Peruvian pepper.
In summer of 2014, we started a new reforestation project in the valley of Cochabamba in Bolivia. The cordillera surrounds the valley like a ring. The Tunari National Park was intended to protect the wooded slopes of the cordillera, but unfortunately it failed. The hills’ slopes are now almost bare with all too well-known consequences: barren soil during the dry season, mudslides during the rainy season. The damage caused by bad weather and landslides at the foot of the national park has doubled during the last three years according to the Departement of Cochabamba's authorities.
The farmers of the Tunari National Park live on subsistence farming. They have livestock and use traditional cultivation methods to grow monocultures. But their yields are low. Malnutrition and poverty are widespread.
We want to train the farmers in dynamic agroforestry and thereby show them a cultivation method that allows them to save water and soil resources, increase yields and simultaneously avoid the use of pesticides and fertilisers. Almost incidentally, both the forest and a new understanding of trees will grow.
Our local partners are AGRECOL Andes, which has supported farmers with sustainable farming for many years, and the ECOSAF agroforestry network in cooperation with the agroforestry research centre Mollesnejta. The support concept As part of a pilot project in Cochabamba, we supported 14 farmer families in converting from subsistence farming to dynamic agroforestry. Furthermore, the forestry faculty of the University San Simon in Cochabamba (ESFOR) set up a plot for training prospective forest engineers. The Simon I. Patiño (FUSIP) foundation has also established two plots.
The training enables the farmers to produce a larger selection of agricultural products on their land and simultaneously reduce the use of pesticides and artificial fertilisers. Dynamic agroforestry allows us to reforest the heaviliy degraded soil of the southern ridges of the Tunari National Park.
You can help build up forest in the Eastern Cordillera of the Andes. Just €6.00 enables you to plant a tree there. Of course you can also deduct your donation for the trees from your taxes.
Join in and help us purchase more land for nature!