Bosque de Mil Anos Reforestation Project

Bosque de Mil Anos (Thousand-Year Forest) is a Kolinda project from the heart.

Oaxaca is considered one of the most biodiverse regions of the world. But the once-thriving cloud forests of the Sierra Sur mountains are now endangered.

From our mountain we have views to the semi-desert in the valley below. With a full-blown logging industry operating in the area, the clear-cutting of large areas of forest and the monoculture of pine for economic reasons, the desert is creeping closer, water sources are drying up, the pine plague is out of control and our forests are losing their resiliency and becoming unsustainable.

Komunidad Kolinda is situated at the frontline of desertification and in the middle of an indigenous cultural transition away from their traditional connection to nature. The challenges may be huge but our unique opportunity to create lasting ecological and social change is impossible to ignore – can we not only reforest huge swathes of land but at the same time convert logging communities to forest preservationists?

Forests not only need to be regenerated, they also need both legal and social protection. We want lands to be held in ownership perpetually and irrevocably by an ecological civil association for the strongest possible legal protection.

But in a region with a weak legal system, social protection is just as, if not more, important. By offering benefits beyond the purely ecological to local communities, Bosque de Mil Anos envisions a grand coalition of stewards of forests spreading throughout the Sierra Sur mountains. The list of possible incentives include employment, free and open communal gardens and orchards on the forest fringes, and ecotourism schemes within the forests.

Each piece of land must be observed and analyzed before an ecological and social plan can be put into practice. Ecologically, we imagine a mix of three different ways to regenerate healthy, biodiverse, resilient forests – ‘protective’, where healthy forests already exist; ‘passive’, where nature is capable of doing its own successional regeneration; and ‘active’, where human intervention is needed to kickstart a new natural cycle. ‘Active regeneration’ can be further divided into two possible schemes – ‘subtractive’, where we simply remove unwanted species to allow wanted species to thrive; and ‘additive’, where we will actively introduce missing wanted species. On very degraded lands, earthworks may initiate the process of regeneration. Swales, ponds, ploughed contour lines and other way to retain moisture in the landscape will greatly accelerate forest regeneration.

We envision buying our first piece of land very close to Kolinda and in cooperation with the small local community of Extebe create an experimentation and model site that in time can be replicated further and further afield, hopefully covering thousands of hectares in the Sierra Sur within our lifetimes. On such a scale we not only would have a serious regional impact on ecology, climate and society but even be one small part of a global effort to regenerate a healthy planet.

We are at an early stage of fundraising for this project.