Reforestation with native species in the dry lands of Panama

Carla Chizmar

La Toza de Cocle, located in the dry arch of Panama, has suffered intense deforestation in the past decades and now faces serious environmental degradation. Natural populations of precious timber species in Panama are being overexploited, and some have been registered in the IUCN Red List in recent years. Within the overall framework of natural resource scarcity and mounting effects of climate change, the need for sustainable production of native trees that offer added values of water cycle regulation, soil improvement, and biodiversity conservation is stressed. The aim of this project is to increase biodiversity in farms by planting native tree species. To accomplish our goal we will raise awareness on environmental issues, build capacity on reforestation techniques, start a local nursery, and plant native tree species. Our efforts will contribute to restoring degraded forests, improve environmental services, and reduce pressure on natural forests by providing sustainable sources of timber, while significantly improving community livelihoods.