Historically, the mountainous landscape of Michoacán was covered in forests of oyamel, pine and cedar trees. As commercial farming grew in popularity and population and the demand for timber increased, much of this land was clear-cut. Since much of the land is owned by indigenous communities and ejidos, the local communities had a right, and still do, to work the land. The people within these communities cleared the land for food and forage crop farming and for livestock grazing. Unfortunately, this mountainous region was unsuitable for sustainable farming. Decades of farming in the Highland Lakes Region and heavy clearing of forestland in the communities surrounding the Monarch Biosphere Reserve have resulted in poor soil conditions and the disappearance of clean water sources, eventually leading to the demise of farming productivity in this area.
That is where we come in. First, we select planting locations based on the most high need areas that were home to the native trees we supply.
Communities and landowners are taught sustainable forestry such as proper planting techniques, sustainable harvesting, the importance of recycling and waste management, and land and plant protection. As the trees mature, landowners and communities can use the sustainably harvested wood for daily use (cooking, heating, building materials) and as a source of income through timber sales.
These renewed forestlands will bring an ongoing source of income to the participants now and for future generations.