An ambitious agroforestry project to be developed over the next 20 years in a Guatemalan reserve for protecting water springs, seeks to capture 1.8 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) to help correct climate change on the planet.

The program defines its goals as agroforestry and woodland restoration for ecological connectivity, poverty reduction and biodiversity conservation on Cerro San Gil, a mountain in the Caribbean province of Izabal.

With the aid of inhabitants of 20 Maya and Ladino communities in that reserve, environmental organizations will grow over a period of 20 years some 3 million trees of different species, sources associated with the program told Efe.

The project is the first to be financed in Latin America by the Livelihood Fund, created in 2008 by the Danone Fund for Nature.

The mission of this fund is to fight climate change with projects aimed at restoring wetlands that contribute significantly to carbon capture.

Mangroves are a key part of this program, thanks to their high capacity for carbon capture.

Guatemala's NGO Fundaeco will be the coordinator of the environmental project that counts on the participation of the National Forestry Institute (INAB) through its Forestry Incentives Program (PINFOR).

Also involved are Guatemala's Agriculture, Livestock and Food Ministry (MAGA), the National Council of Protected Areas (CONAP) and local authorities on Cerro San Gil.

To be grown on Cerro San Gil will be 3 million forest, fruit, rubber and agroforestry trees in order to assure food security, income for its inhabitants and the sustainability of its communities.

This innovative project of carbon capture through forestry will yield multiple economic, social and environmental rewards because farmers will benefit from the sustainable production of agraforestry products of high commercial value.

And while they benefit from the recovery of woodlands, the environment benefits from the capture of 1.8 million tons of carbon dioxide. EFE