Co-Manager of Pico Pijol National Park, Yoro, Honduras
In the town of Morazán Honduras, with Pico Pijol mountain in the background, the mayors of the municipalities of Yoro, Victoria, El Negrito, and Morazán joined with the Minister of the
Forests, Wildlife and Protected Areas, Cooperative COMISUYL, Vision Mundial Honduras, AECOPIJOL and the Mesoamerican Development Institute (MDI) to sign a co-management agreement for Pico Pijol National Park. On August 29th, 2013, MDI became the first international organization to enter a co-management agreement with Honduras.
MDI and organizations of small coffee producers are introducing new ways of growing and processing coffee that eliminate the use of firewood in drying and provide an alternative to forest cleared coffee monoculture in the buffer zone of the national park. With market support from an alliance of coffee roaster/distributors including Merchants of Green Coffee in Toronto, Nordiska kafferosteriet in Gothenburg Sweden, Red Barn Coffee Roasters in Massachusetts, and Bay Coffee & Tea in Florida, the alliance is creating a new and alternative model for the coffee sector worldwide. The Honduran Forest Service has identified expanding coffee production as the primary threat to Pico Pijol National Park (and others), as the region has increased coffee production significantly over the past five years.
The concept of co-management, shared responsibility between the public (government) and private (civil society), is one of the solutions to promote a participatory, decentralized, democratic conservation and development oriented model. Co-management is a method to develop synergy and win-win scenarios, which complement and multiply the capabilities and benefits for all parties.
The objective is to promote the conservation and sustainable management of Pico Pijol National Park through legal and technical implementation of the shared management of the area, including:
- protection of ecosystems
- scientific research
- environmental education
- recreation, eco-tourism
- participatory management of natural resources
- improving the quality of life of the inhabitants
Forest and Water Resources of Pico Pijol National Park
The park includes important cloud forests that are the source of drinking water for four municipalities as well as the watershed for the Cuyamapa Hydroelectric Project, a 12 MW power station in the towns of Subirana and El Salto. In addition to forests and watersheds, the Park is home to wildlife of all sorts, from hundreds of bird species to the jaguar. The buffer zone of the park is the source of much of the coffee processed and exported by Cooperative COMISUYL and the Mesoamerican Development Institute, Honduras. The buffer zone of the park is 10,164,591 hectares; the nucleus of the park is 1,343,567 hectares, for a combined total of 11,508,158 hectares.
With increasing demand for high-quality coffee, coffee production is rapidly expanding Central America. This region is now the world’s second largest producer (after Brazil) with Honduras number one in production. As coffee production increases, forests are being impacted in the following two ways:
- High altitude forests, a key to water resources and critical habitat supporting the regions biodiversity, are being clear cut and planted for coffee.
- Increased coffee production demands more firewood for drying the harvest in mechanical dryers. An area of forest equivalent to the total area of certified shade coffee is lost each year to supply the wood for the highly energy-intensive drying process.
This double jeopardy is putting tropical forests at risk—forests that are critical to abating climate change with their vast reserves of sequestered carbon. As only roughly 2% of forests are protected under conservation, and coffee can represent nearly 38% of the agricultural landscape, forestry experts and policymakers are looking to address these issues through the creation and expansion of our alternative model that minimizes coffee production’s threat to forest habitat. Together, with your support for Café Solar®, we are creating a new model—use of renewable energy instead of burning wood; facilities operated by local youth and managed by women; and the introduction of forest-friendly Integrated Open Canopy™ (IOC) production for coffee and biofuels.
Research & Export Activities in Support of Pico Pijol National Park
MDI with international research collaborators, small producer organizations and international market partners have validated and advanced scientific understanding of biodiversity benefits of the alternative coffee production model, we call the Yoro Model:
- Biodiversity studies of migratory birds, small mammals and bats using the 100 sites in our study region in the headwaters of of key watersheds in the buffer zone of Pico Pijol National Park.
- Water quality studies on coffee farms and the watersheds the support coffee communities and municipal water supplies.
Mapping of Integrated Open Canopy™ coffee farms and carbon sequestration assessment.
- Processing and export of coffee using MDI’s renewable energy technology for industrial coffee drying.
- Over-the-counter sale of carbon offsets to coffee companies in Ireland and Canada.
- Documentation of forest destruction within Pico Pjol National Park.
- Outreach trainings for community organizations, municipalities, coffee producers in conjunction with the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment.
Try The Sustainable Coffee Created From The Mesoamerican Development Institute Research
With your support, Café Solar® is providing new solutions to deforestation associated with coffee production and processing.
Donate To the Research!
Your donation supports the training of local youth in the implementation of forest-friendly Integrated Open Canopy and coffee processing using clean technology in harmony with Pico Pijol National park.