Trees for Bolivia
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Background of ArBolvia

The idea of reforestation as a means of rural development started in 2005, with the development of a project for reforestation on small-scale within the Clean Development Mechanism. This project aims at the implementation of forestry plantations with small-scale agricultural families in the buffer-zones of the Ecological Corridor Madidi-Amboro of Bolivia. The project areas lie in the Amazon Basin and are known for its grand biodiversity, flora, fauna, water resources, and extensive tropical forest coverage with valuable timber-species. The overall conditions favor the development of forestry activities for ecological as well as economical benefits.


Since the 1970s, the areas mentioned have been subject to migrations of farm families from the Andean valleys and highlands, which intensified over the past 30 years due to increasing poverty. The families were given land under colonization programs and though there is some variation in land-ownership in the region, the average per farm are around 20 to 50 hectares, which is classified as a smallholder in Bolivia.


The daily needs and lack of resources faced by the smallholders forces them towards shifting cultivation, involving the clearance and burning of the forests in order to obtain fertile agricultural land for annual crop production and grassland for cattle-raising. On a large scale, this slash and burn technique leads to extensive deforestation, decreasing soil-fertility, emissions of Green House Gasses and increased erosion that consequently spurs towards further deforestation in order to habilitate agricultural land. At the moment around 300 thousands of hectares of forest land are cleared in Bolivia annually.


These agricultural activities based on shifting cultivation provide a subsistence-based income per farm ,while at the same time, demand most of the manual labor available. In resume, little resources remain for the famers to project an investment in forestry plantations considering the immediate needs for their subsistence. In general forestry plantations require the majority of its investment, such as plants, weeding, materials, during the initial stage of plantation. This while economic benefits are not to be expected within the first ten years.


To confront this situation, ArBolivia developed a partnership combining investments of outside interested individuals and companies with those of local small-scale farmers on the one hand. On the other hand, the forestry plantations also produce an amount of carbon credits that enable some returns in a short period. ArBolivia destines incomes derived from the carbon credits to pay part of the farmers' investments made during the plantation in order to assure their subsistence. This enables farmers to include a more sustainable business of timber production on their farms as the high costs for the establishment of forestry plantations are alleviated considerably.


Given the current market prices, the sale of the produced timber under fair trade principles provides a considerable income for the farmers as well as a reasonable rate of interest for outside investors. At the same time, activities of agro forestry, silvipastoral plantations (pastures with trees) as well as plantations that protect the eco-structure are implemented on a minor scale in order to promote a more sustainable and integral approach on farm development.


In July 2007, ArBolivia implemented its first activities in the field with the finance from ethical investors of SICIREC-Group BV from The Netherlands and the sale of carbon credits to the Flemish government after the accreditation of the project "Carbon sequestration through reforestation in the tropical areas in Bolivia by smallholders".




Almendrillo, also known as camuru, is a long term tree specie that can be planted in combination with other medium term tree species such as, Tejeyeque, Palo Román y Palo Yugo (Crespito).The planting distance used is 3 x 3 metros and in one hectare a total of 1,111 plants are used. In a combined plantation the following plant numbers are

After -
Before After

Site selection protocol

Site selection protocol

These protocols have been developed in order to guide the forestry technician in his work of identifying sites for reforestation purposes, taking into account, like a requisite the optimum and sustainable use of the earth.