(Parts taken from CERO CARBONO NO. 25 written by Luis Fernando Jara, PROFAFOR S.A.)

The COP21 in December 2015 generated a lot of interest in environmental and social benefits provided by forests. So many governments today value their forests and the private sector is committed to supporting restoration and reforestation initiatives of degraded areas as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR). Projects that mitigate climate change, generate environmental services and have great social, economic significance for local communities.

Between April 10th and 19th, two of Face the Future forestry experts (Kars Riemer and Wouter van Goor) came to Ecuador to visit with local agroforestry companies in the Tena and Archidona region (Ecuador). Their goal was to look for possibilities to join forces with local companies in order to implement a restauration program for the Amazonian landscape by establishing a combination of cover trees and sustainable agroforestry plantations with cocoa and fruit trees. This projects aims to turn abandoned pastures and unproductive and/or abandoned farms located on community lands into production systems that are sustainable, organic and low in emission.

This idea is consistent with the Amazon Productive Transformation Agenda of the Ecuadorian Ministry of Agriculture. Our forestry experts concluded at the end of their trip that it will be feasible to expand the scale of the project that was started three years ago on degraded community lands, following guidelines of management plans with current criteria for establishing sustainable production systems.

Two companies already show great interest to expand their areas of cocoa production by combining it with timber and fruit. Face the Future and PROFAFOR shall prepare a proposal and inquire with private companies in Europe that wish to contribute to this noble cause; to restore Amazonian forest cover while also serving local communities. The project matches the interests of both the private sector as well as communities that possess unproductive land. The private sector wants to contribute with planting trees without having to compensate these communities. The communities benefit from the cocoa production and in due time the yield from the fruit trees as well as any future timber harvests.

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