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Management Side
Technical Side
Central American Subsistence Farmers Restoring Forests
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Surry, Maine, USA, 19 April 2007 -- /PRNewswire/ -- Subsistence farmers working with Sustainable Harvest International (SHI) are celebrating the planting of their 2 millionth tree in Central America as this sustainable development organization approaches its 10-year anniversary on 14 May 2007.

More than 5000 economically disadvantaged men, women, and children in 100 rural communities in Honduras, Nicaragua, Belize, and Panama have contributed to this effort. Unlike with many other reforestation efforts, these farmers have not been paid to plant the trees. Rather, they plant the trees because they understand the benefits that these trees will bring to their families as they grow. These benefits include improved nutrition and income from the production of fruit, nuts, spices, timber, coffee, and cacao. Planting trees back onto the land also restores nutrients to the soil, provides a habitat for diverse plants and animals, prevents erosion, protects watersheds, and mitigates global warming. Though these environmental benefits may seem like they would be a bit ephemeral for struggling families in remote Central American villages, they are not. Farmers working with Sustainable Harvest International well understand how important a steady water supply, healthy soils and a stable climate are for a productive farm.

Don German Lira, a farmer in Nicaragua says, "I have the support of SHI with the work on my farm and am planting areas of my land with trees so that in the future I will not have to take trees from the forest for lumber. I also have started nurseries of cedar and mahogany with the objective of reforesting the area around my community's watershed so that the water sources will be protected for future generations. I have planted an area with pigeon pea bushes to fertilize the soil so that I will not have to clear new land each year. I also have a garden with annatto bushes and a grove of plantains. These crops will bring in more income for my family."

Planting continues in all of SHI's participating communities with hundreds more communities anxious to get involved. For more information, visit SHI's web site at http://www.sustainableharvest.org/ or phone their U.S. office at (207) 669-8254.

Source: Sustainable Harvest International


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