In Central America, forests are being destroyed and soil is being depleted by slash-and-burn agriculture, resulting in the loss of precious ecosystems and farmers being unable to provide sufficient food to their families. Slash-and-burn agriculture is the destructive process of burning rainforest and using the nutrient-rich ash to fertilise crops. However, the land is only fertile for a couple of years, resulting in the frequent destruction of more forest. 30 - 40 % of tropical deforestation is caused by small-scale farmers as they lack the resources, money and political power to change their methods, leading Sustainable Harvest International to provide an alternative; forest gardens, also called agroforestry. With assistance from local Sustainable Harvest International field trainers, families learn to plant multi-story forest gardens, incorporating hardwood trees which provide shade for crops on lower levels, including cacao, coffee, ginger and vanilla. Below the upper canopy, farmers plant vitamin-rich fruit trees and nitrogen-fixing leguminous trees that improve the soil. This transition to sustainable farming allows crops to be replanted in the same place every year, enabling families to improve their health and increase their income, while restoring tropical forests, preserving wildlife habitat and increasing biodiversity. Sustainable Harvest International has impacted 2,500 families across Central America and planted over 4 million trees, restoring 16,000 acres of forest affected by slash-and-burn.
The world’s ecosystems are earth’s life support system, providing all living things with clean air and water. Between 1970 and 2010, the world lost 52% of its biodiversity while the human population doubled, with Latin America having the biggest decline with 83%. Central America is a biological hotspot, a region thriving with biodiversity but severely threatened by human activities such as slash-and-burn agriculture, illegal logging and infrastructure development. Sustainable Harvest International’s forest garden initiative replenishes the soil, creates ecological buffer zones and stops the need for slash-and-burn agriculture, resulting in a restoration of the rainforest and the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Out of the 3.1 billion people living in poverty in developing countries, 70% live in rural farming areas. SIH allows poor rural communities in Belize to have access to healthy food through the ability to grow more vitamin-rich foods and to increase their income by at least 23% which can be used instead for medicine, education and business. Environmental degradation and rural poverty are undeniably connected and can impact planet Earth dramatically.
Your impact donation is helping to achieve the below Sustainable Development Goals developed by the United Nations.
We support small-scale subsistence farmers that are unable to provide for their families and are forced to resort to harmful slash-and-burn agriculture. We believe that environmental degradation and rural poverty are linked, so our model equips and empowers low-income farmers with the resources to implement alternatives to slash-and-burn agriculture, sustain the land for future generations of farmers, halt tropical deforestation, and build strong, self-supporting communities through agribusiness. We have impacted over 2,500 families across Central America and planted over 4 million trees, restoring 16,000 acres of forest affected by slash-and-burn.