Thursday, April 7, 2011

Rio San Juan: El Castillo Project Moves Forward

The GGC team recently returned from a two-week trip to Boca de Sabalos, Rio San Juan, Nicaragua. The trip was organized to make the final feasibility assessment for the proposed 2500-hectare reforestation/agroforestry project.

During the extent of their visit the GGC team assessed the site and had meetings with our partners, local officials, and farmers we would be working with. The GGC team toured six farms distributed throughout the project area, and visited current sustainable precious-hardwood and cocoa plantations in the area.

According to Kirsten McGregor, President of GGC, “the trip was very successful. Being on the ground surveying the project site, as well as re-enforcing relationships with our local partners, has proved to be invaluable in moving the project forward.” She went on to say, “All our preliminary feasibility assessments have been verified. We are currently in the process of drafting the final PDD, and are confident that the project will be fully underway by the 3rd quarter of this year. This 25-year project, by combining revenues from carbon credits, premium cocoa, and high-value timber, will hugely expand the local economy and the opportunities available to the communities. At the same time the new forest, and supply of high-value timber, will reduce pressure on the exceptionally high-biodiversity Indio MaĆ­z Biological Reserve, which is currently suffering from illegal logging and encroachment by farmers.”

The local municipal seat, El Castillo, sits along the banks of the Rio San Juan River. It was originally established as a Spanish fort in the 17th century to protect against pirates. Today, the region faces a new enemy, deforestation from unsustainable agriculture and fuel source practices. This project will create a viable livelihood for thousands of poor farmers in this vulnerable region.

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