Projects

Go Big. Or Go Extinct.

Sustainable Belize

Restore and Protect Coasts and Forest Habitats. Link to Regenerative Agriculture. Create Sustainable Ecosystems and Economies.

Summary

Belize, located on the Caribbean coast of Central America, has more than 80 ecosystem types and nearly 100 habitats mapped. These range from lowland broad-leaved dry forests to lowland savannas; mangroves, wetlands, and seagrasses; and agriculture, silviculture, and mariculture classes.

Tourism and recreation (e.g., coral reef diving expeditions, relaxing at coasts lined with mangroves, and sports fishing) contributes to nearly a quarter of Belize’s GDP and is critical to trade balance and foreign exchange (FOREX). Agriculture is the second-most important economic sector and employs 18% of the Belizean population. An estimated four percent (4%) of GDP is lost due to the increased frequency and intensity of climate-related effects, such as hurricanes, droughts, and floods, that devastate coastlines and crops.

In 2018, 52% of Belizeans were living in poverty. The COVID-19 pandemic further contributed to poor economic conditions as illness spread and tourism dropped.​

Situation

  • Although Belize has more than 80 unique ecosystems, the land is facing incursions that are destroying diverse habitats. Despite 90% of the nation still forested, habitats are in danger.
  • Encountering major challenges (e.g., poverty, high unemployment, hurricane damage, depleted land, climate change impact).
  • World’s second-largest reef is threatened by the loss of protective mangroves on the coast and around islands.

Solutions

The initial project is to create a pattern for the future that goes on a national scale.

  • Replant 4,500 hectares of coastal mangrove forests alongside a 50-meter minimum riparian forest buffer on the land (1500 hectares) to minimize storm damage, protect reefs, restore fisheries,  preserve the coastline and its islands.
  • Develop multispecies forest management system to support sustainable wood stocks, including mahogany. Structure to provide a development buffer to local wild habitats.
  • Activate comprehensive monitoring and reporting for 300,000 hectares of private and publicly protected forests of Belize (25%).
  • Replant 10,000 hectares of protected forest land.
  • Introduce regenerative agriculture, starting with around 1,000 hectares of 200 farmers.  Special attention will be given to agroforestry and permaculture, increasing tree cover and reducing soil erosion.

 Projected Outcomes

  • 4,500 hectares of mangrove forests restored
  • 10,000 hectares of habitat restored
  • 1,500 hectares of coastal forests restored
  • Agroforestry introduced for 200 families covering 1000 ha.
  • 300,000 hectares of protected areas (25% of existing areas) receive monitoring and support
  • Government agencies and communities receive funding exceeding US $1 million per year for carbon leases based on the reforestation completed in their areas.  
  • More than 500 jobs created.

Blue Carbon

This scientist is collecting a sediment core to assess carbon sequestration rates in the sediment of a tidal seagrass bed.

Coastal wetlands of tidal marshes, seagrass meadows, and mangrove forests form some of the world’s most productive ecosystems, sequestering carbon at an estimated annual rate ten times greater than mature tropical forests. Studies suggest these wetlands also store three to five times more carbon per equivalent area than tropical forests. The soil stores most of the blue carbon, not the plant material above-ground. When these essential ecosystems are damaged, their carbon sink capacity is diminished or lost and CO2 is released back into the atmosphere.

Read More: Terrazone

Sustainable Uganda

Chimpanzee Forest Habitats, Natural Regeneration, and Agroforestry

Summary

The initial focus of this project is a chimpanzee forest habitat with degraded grasslands in the Budongo Forest in Western Uganda. The forest reforestation area is 15,000 hectares.

Situation

  • Uganda’s forests and associated natural resources are being lost and degraded rapidly. Forest cover in Uganda reduced from 4.9 million ha in 1990 to 1.8 million ha in 2015 with a deforestation rate of 4.14% (95,694 ha/yr).
  • Loss of forest cover threatens unique biodiversity including chimpanzees, mountain gorillas, 366 bird species, and 24 mammal species that are found in the bio-diverse Albertine Rift.
  • Agriculture employs 65% of Uganda’s people, providing half of the export earnings, threatened by degrading lands.
  • Food insecurity, malnutrition, and a high disease burden is made worse when droughts, torrential rains, damaging floods, and mudslides wipe communities and critical habitats off the map due to soil erosion, deforestation, and climate impact.

Solutions

We will work with partners to:

  • Establish a working pattern for large-scale restoration, building on the history of protecting a critical Wildlife Reserve. Within the protected area, indigenous trees will be planted.
  • Restore deforested and degraded lands, integrating agroforestry and sustainable wood stocks to overcome the pressure on habitats. This work is done outside of the protected areas and will fulfill local needs, increasing income, and food security. Local tree species will be preferred.
  • Assist the Ugandan government with sophisticated monitoring of trees in the restoration project to maintain sites with limited human resources and preserve the remaining protected areas.
  • Build on local partnerships to expand scale for a working model that can expand into large scale.​

Projected Outcomes

  • Achieve national targets for forest cover by 2040.
  • 15,000 hectares of critical habitat forests restored.
  • 43,500 hectares of protected areas (65% of existing) receive monitoring and support.
  • Agroforestry introduced to at least 2,500 families covering 5,000 hectares.
  • 31M trees planted and 15M trees regenerated.
  • 46M metric tons of carbon sequestered.
  • Over 1.5K jobs created.

Fast fact: The FAO estimates that 70% of Uganda’s population works in the agriculture sector, and that it generates 85% of the country’s export earnings. Uganda produces a wide range of agricultural products, including coffee, tea, sugar, tobacco, edible oils, plantains, beans, corn, cassava, sweet potatoes, groundnuts, cotton, and livestock.

Project Pipeline (Partial List)

Reviving Degraded Lands for Community Resilience

Our projects cover a wide range of environments, from tropical to temperate, coastlines to highlands, mining lands to national parks, and regenerative agriculture to coral reefs, and they range across all economic levels.

Our company is proud to participate in Initiative 20×20. We stand alongside other partners who have created more than 100 land restoration and forest conservation projects in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Our partial list of projects in the pipeline includes:

  • Indonesia: Recovery of mining lands and mangroves
  • Malawi: Regenerative agriculture and protection of national parks
  • Philippines: Recovery of bamboo and mangrove forests
  • USA: Restoration of mining lands in a mountainous area
  • Zambia: Restoration and protection of parks in multiple nations

We invite you to contact Spades with your large-scale reforestation development project. Let’s discuss how Ecofit biotech, available only at Spades, helps take the guesswork out of tree growing success. Ecofit has been laboratory tested across over 400 species in 30 ecosystems globally – from deserts to tropical rain forests to dry savannahs and highlands.

FMNR Restores River

Children enjoy the fresh water from a meandering river flowing through their land that was revived as a result of the increased tree cover in the area, thanks to the Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) approach in Mogotio, Baringo County, Kenya. Source: World Vision.

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