Four Million Trees for Jovel Valley, Mexico

The Jovel Valley Basin Committee is a reforestation initiative in the Jovel Valley, Mexico. The Jovel Valley Basin located in the Highlands of the State of Chiapas in Southern Mexico covers an area of ​​28,564 hectares and part of the townships of San Cristóbal de las Casas, San Juan Chamula, Huixtán, Tenejapa and Zinacantán.

In 25 years, nearly 50% of the regional forest has been lost and part of the remaining forests have been destroyed as a result of the growing population in the area, the extraction of forest resources and the use of the soil for agriculture. As a result, local communities can no longer fulfil their needs of medical plants, firewood, timber and food. Due to a shortage of water sources and the loss of soil fertility, the forest cannot regenerate itself.

Therefore, over the past eleven years, the Jovel Valley Basin Committee already has planted more than four million trees in the Los Altos region of Chiapas. This initiative has been joined by 38 communities in the state of Chiapas, eight local governments, eleven non-governmental organizations and about 20,000 farmers. Over the next four years the Committee aims to plant another four million trees with the support of the Hahn Air Foundation who will finance 50% of those trees, meaning a total of two million trees.

The initiative seeks to restore the regional forests in two ways:

1) Tree Nurseries

Native trees will be cultivated in tree nurseries withing the communities that participate in the initiative. The nurseries will be taken care of by local citizens thus creating jobs in the area and ensuring that only the most useful tree species will be raised.

2) Annual Reforestation Campaign

The cultivated trees will be provided to local farmers to be planted on their farm grounds. The goal is to create environments where agricultural soil and trees can coexist (= agroforestry). The annual reforestation campaign includes mass media announcements and workshops for the local communities on agroforestry.