Sierra Gorda, Mexico

Sierra Gorda

The Sierra Gorda is an ecological region centered mainly in the state of Querétaro. The area is valued for its very wide diversity of plant and animal life, which is due to the various microenvironments created by the ruggedness of the terrain and wide variations in rainfall.

Planting your gift tree in Mexico with have wide-ranging community benefits. Pine trees will be planted to reforest areas that were lost after the trees were infected by an unexpected pine plague. Additionally, groves of black ironwood/leadwood trees will be planted on lands that were in the past dedicated to livestock. The aim is to provide a source of pollen to the bees which is critical to the many beekeepers in the area whose economic survival is dependent on conserving the forest species that have numerous honey producing characteristics throughout the majority of the year. Finally, your gifted tree will have a positive water resource impact in the filtration and recharge of the groundwater, in erosion mitigation, and improvement in the scenic beauty of the entire area.

El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico

El Yunque National Forest

Located on the Caribbean Island of Puerto Rico, the El Yunque National Forest is the sole tropical rain forest in the U.S. National Forest System and is one of the world’s most diverse tropical rainforests. The forest’s relatively small 28,000-acre size belies its importance. It differs significantly from all the other U.S. National Forests because of its year-round tropical climate and immense biodiversity, serving as home to hundreds of plant and animal species.

Revered as a holy place for over a thousand years by the prehistoric Taino inhabitants, the El Yunque National Forest has been a continually managed reserve for well over 100 years. In September 2017, a powerful hurricane hit the island head-on and caused widespread damage. In the storm’s aftermath, not only was critical forest infrastructure destroyed, but most trees were uprooted and the whole forest’s delicate ecological balance, home to 54 critical, rare, endemic and endangered animal species, was thrown out of whack. The entire forest eco-system now must be re-balanced.

Planting of your gift tree in Puerto Rico will help to re-establish this national treasure and the environmental well-being of Puerto Rico. The El Yunque National Forest staff is working with teams of volunteers, mostly local Girl Scouts, to replant the forest which is essential to restoring the exuberant tropical vegetation required to sustain the wildlife species found in this National Forest, many of which exist nowhere else on the planet.

Lavial, Haiti

Haiti

Haiti is now one of the most deforested countries in the world. In 1920, 60% of Haitian territory was covered with forests, compared to only 2% today. The massive loss of forest cover is mainly due to the production of charcoal, which is the main source of energy for the population. Deforestation leads to soil erosion, reduced productivity of arable land, increased droughts and desertification of territories. Devastating Hurricane Matthew, in October 2016, also destroyed a huge part of the remaining standing trees. This southeast part of the country is facing serious erosion and advanced soil degradation due to deforestation by local populations to meet their energy needs, to generate some resources from the sale of coal and to open up new agricultural areas.

This new project started with the building of a nursery to produce the tree seedlings. While forest technicians and international facilitators will monitor the project to ensure its sustainability, local community members will be actively involved in the project. Continuous training of beneficiary families will be organized to introduce them to agroforestry and promote the sustainable value of the trees. The most experienced individuals will even be part of the monitoring team.

Planting of your gift tree in Haiti will be a cashew tree. The planted cashew trees will enrich a multitude of species already planted in the area (mango trees, acerolas, and avocados). The cashew production from these trees will not only provide food for families but also enable sales in the local markets. The Lavial project thus makes it possible to contribute both to household food security and to improving their incomes.

San Martin, Peru

Originally covered by tropical rainforest and wetlands, the San Martin region in northern Peru, has suffered from quick and intense deforestation since the end of the twentieth century due to the construction of roads and the development of farming programs encouraging the cultivation of rice and coffee. About 4 million acres of ancient forest have already been felled over the past fifty years, and with them, the natural foundation the area needs to ensure the well-being of its people.

Planting of your gift tree in Peru will help restore this part of the Amazon forest by planting various species of trees which will be highly beneficial to the local communities: Maya walnut trees, capirones, cedralas, and guapuruvus. Not only will these trees yield seeds that provide an important source of income for the native population but produce other positive benefits as well.

The Mayan walnut tree provides an important nutritive food source, as well as medicinal qualities. The latex seeping from Maya walnut trees is endowed with precious curative properties against asthma, anemia, and rheumatism, whereas the bark of the capirona tree is used to cure skin and eye infections. Finally, the Mayan walnut tree helps promote biodiversity conservation by producing fruit that can feed 85 % of the bird and mammal species in the area.