Community Reforestation in Nicaragua

myclimate | This community-based reforestation initiative is located in a critical watershed that feeds into Nicaragua's main estuary, the Estero Real. By reforesting this region, the program plays an important role in regulating the hydrologic cycle, provides important water and biodiversity benefits locally and internationally, and improves the quality of life for small farmers.

Project type


Project field

Forestry and Land Use



These aims will be achieved through the establishment of multiple smallscale native species forest plantations on smallholder land. Participants entering the project own underutilised land and must demonstrate that participating will not conflict with their subsistence activities, notably cattle ranching and agriculture. The project area covers 86 square kilometres and will support rural communities desperately in need of support and incentives to take control of their resources. Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with a GDP per capita income of $1,079 per year.

Land use planning around watersheds is a key supporting activity; the project area includes one of the most critical watersheds in the municipality of San Juan de Limay, which suffers from seasonal water shortages and flooding. Increased forest cover will retain water through the dry season and minimise flooding in the rainy season. The project will also distribute fuel-efficient fireplaces equipped with chimneys that reduce smoke in the household, generating health benefits, particularly for women.

The project addresses the causes of deforestation, ensures direct, ongoing community involvement and technical training, and provides financial benefits for participants throughout the project. This occurs through payments for ecosystem services (PES) and income from timber and sustainable forest products. As a result, this multi-faceted approach will reduce forest degradation by easing pressure on surrounding natural forest while at the same time sequester quantifiable volumes of CO2 from the atmosphere and improve the environmental and socio-economic conditions of families located in the community of San Juan de Limay. The project contains 3 types of plantations: Mixed species plantations (multi-purposed tree plantations composed of fast growing firewood species and longer-lived hardwood species), coffee agroforestry (shade grown coffee and fruit trees) and silvopastoral planting (tree planting on areas use for cattle-breeding).

UN Sustainable Development Goals