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Paso del Istmo Reforestation Partnership

Support Agroforestry & Watershed Restoration

In 2012, along with Man & Nature, we launched the Paso del Istmo Reforestation Partnership to support conservation through sustainable economic development in the Paso del Istmo Biological Corridor.

A French NGO dedicated to biodiversity conservation and community empowerment, Man & Nature brings expertise in the sustainable harvest of natural resources (both wild and cultivated), and extensive knowledge of the market for botanicals in medicines and cosmetics. Their technical assistance is proving extremely beneficial to the communities where we're helping people invest in sustainable agriculture, agroforestry, and meliponiculture.

Goals for this project include increased forest connectivity, improved river health, increased wildlife activity, and the economic empowerment of local communities through improved management of natural resources.

We are working in the watersheds of of Río Ostayo, which drains to the Caribbean, and Río La Flor, which drains to the Pacific. Our chosen area is home to communities traditionally dependent on agriculture and fishing as well as ecosystems ranging from mangrove and freshwater wetlands, moist tropical forest, and tropical dry forest.

This region is also part of a critical migratory corridor used by endangered Black-Handed Spider Monkeys, Yellow-Naped Amazon Parrots, and Jaguars. The rivers and streams in these watersheds are important not just for fish like the Atlantic Tarpon, but also for the Eastern Pacific Hawksbill sea turtle, which relies on sea grasses and coastal estuaries for its feeding grounds. The map below shows our target areas of reforestation (oranges) and watershed restoration (greens).


  • monitoring water quality in rivers and streams
  • educating local residents via community workshops
  • developing tree nurseries and kitchen gardens
  • targeting key reforestation areas for watershed restoration
  • monitoring wildlife populations and other biodiversity indicators
  • mapping land use and household participation
  • investing in agroforestry and meliponiculture

In the villages of Collado, La Tortuga, and Cárdenas, our forestry consultants give hands-on lessons in seed collection and germination, soil mixing and management, and nursery construction.

Project coordinator and Paso Pacífico ranger Marvin Chevez and forestry consultant Miguel Bermúdez enlist local community members interested in starting small-scale nurseries. They advise participants on best practices for gathering and tending saplings, intended for targeted reforestation efforts to restore watersheds. In exchange, they provide seeds and technical advice for other plants which can sustain their families in the immediate future and provide commerical value in both medium and long-term timeframes. Key tree species chosen for their watershed restoration, forest connectivity, and commercial value include balsum and aceituno. Other plants include manioc, plantain, chia, and ojoche (or maya nut) trees, chosen based on commercial viability, ecosystem services provided to farmers, importance for wildlife, or immediate sustenance to participating families.

Landscape Approach
In partnership with Planet Action and a team of researchers from Northern Arizona University led by Ophelia Wangand Cassandra Rivas, we created the land use classification map below in 2012 before the onset of our reforestation partnership with Man & Nature. Providing detailed information of land use activity and forest maturation, this map (accurate to within 10m) both helped choose our target area, and will help us measure our progress at the landscape level.

Contact Us

PO Box 1244 • Ventura, CA 93002-1244
Phone: 1-805-643-7044

Carretera a Masaya Km 12.4
Residencial Villas del Prado, Casa No. 7
Managua, Nicaragua
Phone: +505-2279-8423
Phone: +505-2279-7072

© 2006 Paso Pacífico